Stevenston Point Biodiversity Project

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iain
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Re: Stevenston Point Biodiversity Project

Post by iain » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:50 pm

The wildflower meadow project at Stevenston Beach Park has taken a large step forward this year, with many hectares being left uncut. At the end of every summer, the grass will be cut and lifted so as to increase the quantity of wildflowers year on year. The wildflower meadows are quite varied. Some areas - especially the seaward-facing slopes - have a short sward rich in yellow Bird’s-foot Trefoil and Red Clover; some areas are damper and support a few orchids; other areas are more lush and grassy.

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5siamese7
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Re: Stevenston Point Biodiversity Project

Post by 5siamese7 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:11 pm

Took a walk down there yesterday and thought it was great. Reminded me of the veld and I thought of Breaker Morant. I'm glad they will cut it in the autumn because if they don't next year all the dry grass will be set on fire.

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Re: Stevenston Point Biodiversity Project

Post by Vivc113 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:29 pm

Love the last pic especially !!
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morag
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Re: Stevenston Point Biodiversity Project

Post by morag » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:49 pm

Lovely pics, but makes me so homesick...don't stop!
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GEODGC
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Re: Stevenston Point Biodiversity Project

Post by GEODGC » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:48 am

iain wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:50 pm
The wildflower meadow project at Stevenston Beach Park has taken a large step forward this year, with many hectares being left uncut. At the end of every summer, the grass will be cut and lifted so as to increase the quantity of wildflowers year on year. The wildflower meadows are quite varied. Some areas - especially the seaward-facing slopes - have a short sward rich in yellow Bird’s-foot Trefoil and Red Clover; some areas are damper and support a few orchids; other areas are more lush and grassy.
It might sound like a daft question Iain but what do you mean when you say the grass will be cut and lifted? Are we talking about cutting it right down to the previous length? If so, surely that would be disasterous for any wildlife that has taken up residence there?
I noticed yesterday that a big area has been cut right back at the car park opposite Trelawny Terrace, I assume that the circus is due back in town.
Last edited by Hughie on Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Over quoting (images) removed

iain
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Re: Stevenston Point Biodiversity Project

Post by iain » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:21 pm

GEODGC, Sorry, by 'cut and lift' I mean cutting the vegetation and then removing the cuttings (so as to reduce the fertility of the soil, which inhibits grass growth and so allows wildflowers to thrive).

You're right that some wildlife will suffer by having the meadow cut (and cuttings removed). There are various ways to mitigate the damage to wildlife.

1) Cut late in the year, by which time most of the meadow's invertebrates will have completed their lifecycles and will have left the meadow or will be pupating/hibernating at the bases of plants and grasses.
2) Leave cuttings in place for a few days to let any invertebrates in the cuttings crawl away (but I don't think the Council's machine can do this though).
3) Leave some areas uncut all year.
4) Like you say, don't cut right down to the base of the grasses/flowers, cut to a height of 5-10cm.

I'm in the process of arranging a meeting with the relevant Council departments to discuss the issues above and agree a plan for cutting this year.

It is tempting to leave the meadows uncut all year, but most of the site would just become dominated by dense, rank grassland of little value to wildlife. Cutting and lifting every year will result in a year-on-year increase in flower density and diversity and, by extension, wildlife.

You're right, the cut and lift of part of the beach park a few days ago was done to accommodate the footprint of the circus, which is due to arrive this weekend.

Iain

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Re: Stevenston Point Biodiversity Project

Post by GEODGC » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:00 pm

Thanks for that Iain, very informative.

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Re: Stevenston Point Biodiversity Project

Post by iain » Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:11 am

Recently, we got some funding from Greggs/Central Scotland Green Network to install fencing to rebuild sand dunes at Stevenston Beach Local Nature Reserve. As windblown sand particles blow along the beach, the fence will slow them down and they'll be deposited behind the fence line. Over the next year or two, the accumulation of sand particles should quickly form new dunes. This is the first step in our broader attempts to rebuild the dunes that have been eroded over the years.

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The large wildflower meadow at Stevenston Beach Park was cut a couple of weeks ago and a few days ago the cuttings were mechanically collected. As mentioned previously in this thread, removing the grass cuttings reduces the fertility of the soil, which decreases the vigour of future grass growth, which allows wildflowers to thrive.

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