Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Footdrain management to enhance habitat for breeding waders on lowland wet grassland at Buckenham and Cantley Marshes, Mid-Yare RSPB Reserve, Norfolk, England

Published source details

Smart M. & Coutts K. (2004) Footdrain management to enhance habitat for breeding waders on lowland wet grassland at Buckenham and Cantley Marshes, Mid-Yare RSPB Reserve, Norfolk, England. Conservation Evidence, 1, 16-19


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Restore or create traditional water meadows Bird Conservation

A before-and-after study of grazing marshes in east England (Smart & Coutts 2004) found an increase in breeding wader numbers following a number of interventions. Northern lapwing numbers increased from 19 pairs in 1993 to 85 pairs in 2003 and common redshank Tringa totanus rose from four to 63 pairs.  Numbers of winter wildfowl also increased over the period and changes in vegetation communities to those more tolerant of inundation occurred. In 1993, water levels were raised by 45 cm.  Management included opening up existing footdrains; creating new ones; reconnecting drains to ditches; reducing grazing intensity (from 1.5-2 cattle/ha to 0.7) and stopping fertiliser inputs. From 1995, approximately 600 m of footdrains were opened/year; from 2000 onwards, approximately 2,000 m of footdrains were opened or added.

 

Reduce grazing intensity Bird Conservation

A before-and-after study of grazing marshes in east England from 1993-2003 (Smart & Coutts 2004) found that the number of northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus and wildfowl increased and vegetation communities changed following a reduction in grazing intensity and improved footdrain management in 1996.  This study is discussed in ‘Raise water levels in ditches or grassland’

 

Raise water levels in ditches or grassland Farmland Conservation

A before-and-after study of grazing marshes in eastern England (Smart & Coutts 2004) found that opening up existing footdrains, creating new ones and reconnecting drains to ditches resulted in an increase in breeding wading bird numbers.  Northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus numbers increased from 19 pairs in 1993 to 85 pairs in 2003 and common redshank Tringa totanus rose from four to 63 pairs.  Numbers of winter wildfowl also increased over the period and changes in vegetation communities to those more tolerant of inundation occurred. In 1993, water levels were raised by 45 cm.  From 1995, approximately 600 m of footdrains were opened/year; from 2000 onwards, approximately 2,000 m of footdrains were opened or added.  Grazing intensity was also reduced from 1.5-2 head of cattle to 0.7 head/ ha and fertiliser inputs were stopped.

 

 

Reduce grazing intensity on grassland (including seasonal removal of livestock) Farmland Conservation

A before-and-after study of grazing marshes in eastern England (Smart & Coutts 2004) investigated the effect of reducing grazing intensity and improving footdrain management on breeding wading bird numbers from 1993 to 2003. Northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus numbers increased from 19 pairs in 1993 to 85 pairs in 2003 and common redshank Tringa totanus rose from four to 63 pairs. Numbers of winter wildfowl also increased over the period and changes in vegetation communities to those more tolerant of flooding occurred. Grazing intensity was reduced from 1.5-2 head of cattle to 0.7 head/ha and fertilizer inputs were stopped. In 1993, water levels were raised by 45 cm. From 1995, approximately 600 m of footdrains were opened/year; from 2000 onwards, approximately 2,000 m of footdrains were opened or added.