Organisation: CaBA Biodiversity Group
Type: Technical Support & Training
The ‘CaBA Biodiversity Pack’ has been produced to support catchment partnerships and others in their delivery of freshwater and wetland biodiversity projects.
Building on a host of existing habitat management guidance, the pack aims to:
The audience for the pack is all those involved in delivering biodiversity in catchments, including catchment partnerships and their constituent members, land managers and others.
An introductory factsheet describes the policy drivers relevant to delivery in our freshwater environments. The factsheets which follow set out what natural ecosystem function looks like for a range of freshwater & wetland habitat types, and why this natural functionality should be valued – these simple, habitat-specific guides should be useful when developing proposals for habitat restoration schemes, and in discussing ideas with landowners and communities.
The pack then considers the implications for species conservation, and finally, describes a methodology developed by the Freshwater Habitats Trust for identifying ‘Important Freshwater Areas‘- areas rich in biodiversity and which could form an important component of a naturally functioning catchment.
As well as being a working group under CaBA, the CaBA Biodiversity Group performs a parallel function as the Water & Wetlands Group, a sub-group of the Terrestrial Biodiversity Group. The TBG is a national partnership set up to facilitate the delivery of outcomes relating to Priority Habitats and Species under the Government’s strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services, Biodiversity 2020. The work of the Water and Wetlands / CaBA Biodiversity group is endorsed by TBG.
The Water & Wetlands Group aims to promote national aims and targets for wetland priority habitats and species amongst local delivery groups, including Catchment Partnerships – its existence as the only habitat-focussed working group established under the TBG is testament to the important opportunities that CaBA presents for progressing biodiversity delivery across our catchments.
This factsheet describes the policy drivers relevant to delivery in our freshwater environments.
Rivers and Streams encompass an extremely broad range of habitats, from intermittent headwaters, to energetic upland brooks and sluggish lowland rivers.
Ponds are permanent and seasonal standing water bodies up to 2ha in area, often found ‘nested’ within other, larger habitat types.
Wet Grassland is a broad habitat type of floodplains which includes the species-rich cropped meadows and grazed pasture of the lowlands, and species-poorer grazing marshes of floodplains and coastal areas.
Wet heaths are damp areas found within both lowland and upland heathlands. Characterised by a dwarf vegetation of heathers and gorses, heathlands occur on impoverished mineral and peaty soils.
Bogs are particular types of wetlands which are fed only by direct precipitation (in contrast with fens, fed by enriched groundwater or surface flows).
Fens are peatlands that are fed by surface water, groundwater or flood flows as well as precipitation.
Wet Woodlands are woods which experience waterlogged conditions for at least part of the year, occurring on poorly drained or seasonally wet soils. Alder, birch and willow thrive, and the habitat is important for bryophytes and for invertebrates of wet areas or deadwood.
Saltmarshes are near-horizontal platforms characterised by a largely continuous cover of salt-tolerant (halophytic) vascular plants (grasses, rushes and shrubs).
Seagrass meadows are a a critically endangered EU red listed habitat and are extremely important in terms of stabilising the seabed, providing habitat and sequestering carbon.
Native Oyster Beds provide a range of valuable ecosystem services including: filtering algae and organic matter from the water column; removing nutrients; providing habitat and refuge for a diversity of organisms; and providing an economic benefit to local communities through oyster fishing.
This guide aims to support the restoration of estuarine and coastal habitats and the more sustainable management of sediment resources, with benefits including, but not limited to improved biodiversity, water quality, carbon sequestration and adaption to climate risks.