Blenheim Opts for BSG Ecology

Blenheim Estate has enlisted the expertise of Oxfordshire based BSG Ecology to ensure the huge civil engineering program will cause minimum disruption to their fauna and flora.

Wildlife surveys carried out by BSG Ecology ahead of the dredging has revealed the estate is home to a huge variety of wildlife including more than 50% of the UK’s different bat species, 36 different species types of wildfowl, water voles, badgers, otters, reptiles and a number of rare insect species.

“In preparation for lake dredging work to begin in the spring, we undertook a wildlife audit at Blenheim, identifying key species that need to be protected,” said Roy Cox, Estates Director.

“Where necessary we will be setting up soft release pens and traps to move water vole populations away from any potential disturbance and we will also be providing alternative nesting boxes for bats and other species,

“With the all-clear given from our ecologists, we have already begun removing scrub and reeds to enable access to the Queen Pool in readiness for the project to begin,” he said.

In addition to re-locating water voles and fish to other areas of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, work will also be carried out to improve habitats and environments, encouraging existing species to flourish as well as attract new ones once the dredge is completed.

“The dredge will allow us to ensure the long-term survival of this crucially important habitat and means we will be able to continue to be a haven for so many native wildlife species,” Roy added.

The project has been endorsed by Natural England who recognize that Blenheim Estate is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and the lakes are one of the largest areas of open water in Oxfordshire being of regional importance for both breeding and wintering birds.