Following our meeting early this year we were encouraged by KWT’s plans for Oare Marshes particularly in terms of re-establishing control of water levels.

Now that the sluice is once again operational and shallow water with muddy areas is reappearing the promise of an exciting autumn beckons. Both wader numbers and their variety have responded well.  There is too, a chance of seeing  the Night Heron making its dusk flight into the East Flood.

We’re grateful to KWT for responding so positively to KOS’s approach and look forward to seeing how the planned habitat management develops.

KWT’s area manager, Stephen Weeks, has provided an update:

‘We have found a safe way around the edge of the EA sea sluice which has made it far easier for us to play around with the wooden sluice boards within the structure. The sluice has the capacity to hold back water to approximately 300-400mm above the base level and there is space for two 200mm removable wooden boards. Over the last month or so we have been dropping the sluice levels by a half board (we’ve made an additional 100mm board to give us some finer control) and then monitoring how the levels react. We are down to one 200mm board and levels are still quite high across the flood so we will drop it down to 100mm shortly and see what happens.

The western side seems to be reacting at approximately the same rate as the east, so I think there must still be sufficient flow through the culvert under the road, despite the deepening slump in the road where it crosses. We will be chasing this up with KCC Highways, as I worry about the culvert completely collapsing and interfering with the water movement.

The western side looked good over the winter and into spring with the Garganey hanging around for quite a while. We will be shortly allowing the cattle back in to graze the reed, as part of our work to try and slowly restore the majority of the area back to grazing marsh rather then the dense reed it had developed into.

We have finalised plans with the RSPB to use their soil spreader to create more rills and foot drains in the Pheasant Farm fields, with the aim to hold back wetter areas longer into the spring and summer and increase the amount of muddy margins available. We are also hoping to use the same machine to rotovate some the East Flood margins to knock back the reed and sea-club rush that is dominating the margins. There are also plans for some more traditional machine dredging of some of the ditch network in September which will also include some scraping of the flood margins.

We hope with the combination of our playing with the water levels and knocking back of the marginal vegetation, we will be in a far better position for this autumn.

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