This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book. Drought, Storage & Irrigation

Phil Burston, RSPB water policy officer, said: “Wading birds like lapwings, redshank and avocets rely on shallow pools and boggy marshes. As we come into the breeding season, if these birds manage to breed at all, then their chicks will need to feed on the insects that live close to the edge of pools. If they dry up then the chicks will be forced to look elsewhere putting them in danger. “Our reserves are designed to help wetlands and their wildlife cope with drought but we still need to do more to adapt to an increasingly unpredictable climate. The problem in the wider countryside outside managed nature reserves is likely to be even more desperate with wildlife that relies on healthy rivers, ponds and lakes left struggling this summer.”

decades and this spring drought could be the final straw in some of the smaller breeding sites.

The Environment Agency has already seen a number of fish deaths this year caused by dry weather, and is stepping up river monitoring and increasing its supplies of water aeration and fish rescue equipment in order to respond quickly to reports of distressed fish.

The Environment Agency is working with Natural England and other environmental organisations to actively monitor the environmental impact of the drought and is taking action to mitigate impacts wherever possible. Although nature is very resilient it is likely that the effects of climate change will impact on the numbers and distribution of some of the more susceptible wildlife.

Other impacts of drought on wildlife include a reduction in the numbers of water voles, as dwindling water levels in ditches and streams leave their burrows exposed to predators such as stoats and weasels. Long dry spells and low soil moisture levels can lead to the death of some trees - especially beech and birch, and fruits of trees and shrubs are likely to be smaller in size. Forest fires also become an increasing concern.

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As well as Agricultural Land Drainage we also specialise in: Irrigation & Water Services Culverts Ditching Works & Watercourse Maintenance Land and Pond Construction Sports Fields and Recreational Areas Caravan Sites (Existing & New Build) Golf Courses / Driving Ranges

Watervoles suffer as their burrows are lleft exposed by low water levels

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