Upgrades to the water levels control system
We have recently made a number of changes to increase our control over the water levels at Potter Brompton Carr.
Since starting the project in 2009, we have had wet years and dry years. We have also had deluges of rain, resulting in surges in the water levels that can drown out the nests, and young chicks. All part of normal weather variations, you might think, and you would be entirely right. Any well designed wetland project needs to be able to cope with such variations.
We identified three issues that needed addressing:
1. We needed an easier and safer way of changing the sluices to increase or decrease water levels.
2. We needed a system to quickly release water in case of high rainfall.
3. We needed to be able to get more water into the wetlands in the event of a dry year.
4. As our water levels impact on one of our neighbours who have different requirements to us, we needed to design the sluices so that they can control their water levels independently of us.
The RSPB were very helpful with sluice design and suggested we visit their Berney Marshes reserve. Mark Smart, the Site Manager at Berney Marshes, sent us details of their sluice designs, that we feel are exactly what we needed. We have now installed two of these RSPB sluices.
We also installed two 12 inch pipes that allow us to quickly release water into the Sherburn Cut if the water levels get too high.
To get more water into the system, we have harnessed another stream that is coming off the land south of the railway line. We now have water constantly flowing across the wetlands and River Potter Brompton is now a reality.
We can now pretty much guarantee that our scrapes will be wet throughout the lapwing breeding season, and we can keep water levels high during the winter to favour the winter migrants without affecting our neighbours and their farming operations.