Dead wood makes a desirable home! (15th March 2005)
Dead wood is a valuable habitat for many invertebrates, including the rare and impressive stag beetle. QWAG's watchful eye has helped to save this important part of the river corridor ecosystem.
Construction works on the next stage of the Quaggy Flood Alleviation Scheme, the stretch of the river between Brightfield Road and Clarendon Rise, are due to start on May 1st. In preparation for these works contractors have been cutting down or pollarding selected trees along the river corridor. A member of QWAG saw the trees were being taken away, and enquiries revealed that virtually all the wood was to be removed and chipped. QWAG intervened and successfully argued that suitable sites should be found for the dead wood, creating not only a valuable habitat for many species, but an essential one for the rare and globally endangered stag beetle.
As a result the wood is now being stored locally and will be redistributed at suitable places along the river corridor when the main works start. This is far better for the ecology of the river corridor generally, and for stag beetles specifically. The Quaggy has always had a very healthy stag beetle population in it's vicinity, which QWAG wants to ensure is maintained. QWAG has offered to help find suitable sites for the wood, and hopes that many local residents living along the river will want to make use of the logs and stumps as informal seating and architectural features. At the same time the wood will function as a habitat for beetles and other wildlife. Most beetles are useful predators in the garden, because they feed on many of the insects regarded as pests by gardeners. Ths stag beetle is the largest and most impressive beetle in the U.K. and should fascinate both children and adults lucky enough to have them in their garden! Males, with their antler shaped horns, can be up to 8cm in length. For more detailed information on stag beetles see the stag beetle factsheet.
The tree works, originally scheduled for completion by mid February, have been delayed by harsh weather conditions, illustrated by this recent view of the Quaggy in Chinbrook Meadows. They are now expected to be complete by mid March. It is important that this happens before the onset of the nesting season.
The construction works, which are expected to take 18 months, will improve the natural aspects of the river. QWAG's earlier campaigning has ensured that in Manor Park the Quaggy should be restored and integrated into the main recreational area.