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The purpose of this page is to explore any issues affecting the conservation of wildlife in our area i.e. from Portchester in the west north to Denmead, west to Chalton and south to the coast around Nutbourne Bay.  If you are concerned about an issue that might interest other send me an e mail (click here).  I will restrict topics to those affecting conservation and excluding those which are more amenity related.


 

Erosion on the Billy Trail

Click for a picture.

The way storms earlier this year have brought the sea to the edge of the Billy Trail just south of the oyster beds is worrying lots of people.

In the past inappropriate and ineffective measures have been adopted to try and prevent this erosion and the adopted Shoreline Management Plan for this length of coast is ‘No action’.

The issue is not a simple one.

This is about the only bit of natural coast for miles around and there is a good case for letting it stay that way.  Hard measures like those at Broadmarsh/Southmoors are distinctly unnatural and therefore inappropriate

The path is not at present a public right of way but signs posted recently on the path indicate that an application has been made to make it so.

It would be very expensive to attempt to preserve the status quo.

It should be possible to make a simpler form of path to connect the remaining trail at much lower cost than a hard engineered solution.

It might be helpful if something could be done by way of re-nourishment of the very thin beach gravel.  It might be the loss of gravel drifting north due to measures adopted further south that is the cause of the problem.

Meetings of interested parties are being held and the Friends of Langstone Harbour will take an interest in these discussions.

Incidentally the storm effect on the oyster beds lagoon, as pictured right, is even more severe but does not appear to have generated the same anxieties.

 

Seagrass/Eel grass 

This article is based on a longer one in  the Solent Protection Society’s recent ‘News’

 

Eelgrass and seagrass are alternative vernacular names for the plant Zostera.  It is a plant very similar to terrestrial grass and just like ordinary grass needs light to survive.  So it grows in water where light can penetrate and in the Solent this is generally in depths of less than 3 metres.

It is an important plant for a number of reasons.

· It is an excellent nursery habitat for a wide variety of small fish, arthropods and in the Solent sea horses.

· It stabilises mudflats which also provide shelter for growing fish.

· It is a key element in the diets of wildfowl including our important population of Brent geese.

The loss of nursery habitat for many species of fish is one of the reasons for the decline in fish stocks in the Solent which has led fishermen to turn away from white fish to scallops, prawn and lobsters.  Bottom dredging for these species is a threat to the eelgrass and can lead to a loss of eelgrass beds over and above the losses described below. And less eelgrass in the long term means fewer fish!

The once rich beds of eelgrass in the Solent, including Langstone Harbour, have been badly affected by algae covering the leaves and preventing necessary photosynthesis. However mapping by the Solent Seagrass Project (www.solentforum.org/forum/sub_groups/Natural_Environment_Group/Solent_Seagras ) has shown that there is a significant recovery which will enhance the ecological health and economic viability of the Solent and its harbours.

One of the problems for eelgrass beds is that many of them are in areas favoured by fishermen and where yachts want to moor or anchor.  Byelaws are in place to control bottom trawling and there are ongoing negotiations on the anchoring and mooring of yachts in eelgrass beds.  There is now a better understanding of the problem and a balance will hopefully be found between all the diverse interests involved.

To learn more check out the web site quoted above.

 

 


 

Hermitage Stream - Naturalisation

Good News!  The Environment Agency are in the consultation stage of a proposal to naturalise a bit more of the Hermitage Stream through Leigh Park.  BUT financial problems have so far (May 15) delayed any work actually happening.   'Groundworks' have become involved and are trying to stir up interest and find funds.

 

The stream was naturalised some years ago from Middle Park Way to south of Purbrook Way.  This section now is so much better than the areas further north and south.  The plan now is to work on the section north and west of Middle Park Way.

Details are on the EA web at www.hermitagestream.co.uk and you can submit your thoughts to Kevin.Dewitt@groundworks.org.uk.

 


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