Since joining Baker Consultants in June 2021, we have been looking to expand our invertebrate survey services to support our wide range of public and private sector clients. This year, all that hard work paid-off.
This year, we were invited to tender for dozens of projects, and of these, we were commissioned for the equivalent of 43 days of daytime (and some night-time) surveys across a wide range of locations. These extended from Yorkshire to the River Thames in Essex, and an aquatic survey on the south coast of Dorset. The projects involved were also equally varied, ranging from housing, commercial warehousing, quarry restoration and a Review of Mineral Permission (ROMP) to a proposed extension of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
This meant that over the course of 2022, I have conducted assessments and surveys across a wide range of habitats; including various types of grasslands, woodland, edge habitats, open mosaic habitats, scrub, newly and partly created habitats, as well as a number of Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) too.
Alongside my project work, I also ran two one-day training courses on aquatic sampling techniques and species identification, on behalf of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. These sessions are particularly rewarding and give me a chance to share my expertise with others. This is something I have also been able to do through delivering in-house training sessions for our staff, through both structured learning and ad-hoc shadowing on-site. This has led to us recently setting up an ID station in the office, which will allow me to share my knowledge with my colleagues on a regular basis.
Such was the success of this year, we eventually had to decline some invitations for work later on in the season due to our existing commitments. However, we have another keen entomologist in the team who has been able to develop their existing surveying and ID skills, and we are aiming to expand the number of survey slots we can deliver in 2023. Alongside that, we have also worked hard to grow our links with other specialists so that we can direct people towards other trusted experts to help deliver any time-critical surveys needed for this year that we were not able to accommodate.
Of course, I have also been brushing up on my own skills through attending fully funded ID courses, including a great three-day FSC session at Preston Montford that was ran by the Dipterist’s Forum.
What has been particularly pleasing is that, following around 100-days of identification work, virtually every site I have surveyed this year has resulted in us finding some protected and/or notable invertebrate species. This shows how important these assessments are, and in each case it has allowed us to make recommendations for appropriate mitigation and/or enhancement measures to help these species continue to thrive.
As always, considering the need for invertebrate surveys at an early-stage in any project is critical. We typically need to do at least four surveys between April and September so that we can do sampling across the spring, summer and autumn seasons, which enables us to determine the site’s overall value for invertebrates. We have already booked-in some surveys for 2023 and have other tenders out for more. So, with that being said, please get in touch ASAP so that we can consider your invertebrate surveys needs and avoid missing out on these critical survey windows.
If you have any immediate or future requirements for specialist invertebrate surveys or advice, then please do not hesitate to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help support you.