We have been trialing some UK wetland seed mix in the very margins of the River Stour around Halford Flood Meadow. At current river levels the dominant vegetation in 95% of the bank faces is nettles - which is great for caterpillars and butterflies. We are taking small steps to introduce different UK wetland plant species to provide a richer habitat within the riparian zone. This will attract more birds and insects near to the water and a better riverine ecosystem for existing fish and invertebrates and any new species that want to move in. It's an experiment and we will soon see what level of success is achieved. We will be monitoring this and we'll report back in our future diary entries.
It is likely that we will sow spring barley in some areas of the meadow soon. This is known as a catch crop which will draw excess phosphorus out of the soil in an effort to take the nutrient levels down to a point which is tolerable for a species rich meadow. It is well known that species rich meadows are very difficult to establish so we need to follow the management plan for the soil preparation to give the meadow the best chance of success.