This is a handbook of waterways and wetlands management. It is intended to be used by conservation volunteers and others interested in maintaining or improving valuable natural and semi-natural habitats.
‘Waterways’ includes bodies of fresh water, springs, ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, canals and ditches. ‘Wetlands’ describes sites which are waterlogged or water-covered for a significant part of the year, including swamps, marshes, bogs, fens and wet grasslands. Such categories often overlap. Ponds may be temporary, marshes may flood. Fens may contain open pools, lake shores may be swamp-fringed. In the same way, wetlands grade into damp scrub, heath or moorland. But in every habitat covered by this Handbook you are likely to get your feet wet.
Of all parts of the natural environment, waterways and wetlands are amongst the most threatened. Causes of their progressive, sometimes irreversible, degradation include eutrophication from farm, factory and domestic waste; drainage and abstraction; pollution from herbicides, pesticides and industrial effluent; afforestation of upland watersheds; canalisation and damming of streams; infilling of ponds and increased recreational pressure.
This Handbook first introduces basic problems and ecological and management principles of waterways and wetlands conservation. It then goes into detail on why and how to create new ponds, rehabilitate existing waterways, regulate water tables and control ecological succession in aquatic and wetland habitats. Subsidiary topics include methods of landscaping and reinforcing banks, constructing rafts and islands, creating and repairing puddled clay, concrete and flexible linings, laying out, installing and repairing drains and ditches, building dams, weirs and sluices and planting and controlling aquatic and bank vegetation.
Not covered in detail are specialist wildlife management programmes, complex regimes of grazing, flooding or cutting and tasks requiring heavy machinery, subjects which require volumes in themselves. This Handbook does indicate some of the connections between more complex management programmes and those which volunteers can organise, lead and carry out. It also evaluates various management techniques so that they can be matched more easily to available funds, manpower and machinery.
Throughout the text, important points and lists of items of equipment etc. are set out in a, b, c order. Sequential operations and procedures are given in 1, 2, 3 order. Scientific terms and words used in a technical sense are defined in the Glossary. References to published source material are incorporated in the text, and give the author first, followed by publishing date. Full listings of these and other useful works are given in the Bibliography.
Measurements are given first in metric units, followed in brackets by the imperial equivalent. Occasionally a dimension or product specification is given in one unit only according to current manufacturers’ listings.
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)
This handbook is a key reference for the practical ways of managing waterways and wetlands, containing realistic advice, including standards of good practice. As such, it is an invaluable aid to anyone wishing to gain an NVQ in the subject or in practical conservation in general. By following the advice in this book and working to the standards given, you will generate useful evidence of levels of competence. Collating this evidence correctly for your assessor will enable you to get your NVQ.