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Site Condition Monitoring

SCM to assess designated sites on behalf of Scottish Natural Heritage

Site Condition Monitoring is Scottish Natural Heritage's programme for monitoring the condition of nature conservation features of special interest on designated sites in Scotland. The Wildlife Partnership has undertaken a number of SCM contracts including assessment of all Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) designated for otters jointly with Findlay Ecology Services, coastal SCM and SCM for amphibians in south west Scotland. The purpose of Site Condition Monitoring is to determine the condition of the designated natural feature within a site and to establish whether there are any threats to condition in the longer term.

Royal Ordnance Powfoot SSSI is located to the west of Annan and directly adjoins the Solway coast. The attributes assessed at this site were the natterjack toad and great crested newt populations and the amphibian assemblage. The site is in single private ownership and has been developed as a fishery (fly and coarse) making use of the ponds remaining following the Ordnance testing on site. A total of 15 ponds and 5 drains were assessed for their amphibian interest through a combination of daytime visits, night time torch survey and listening for calling male natterjacks as this species is considered to be the noisiest European amphibian.

Torrs Warren SSSI is an important site for great crested newts. A cluster of 15 ponds was surveyed using the standard technique of day time visits to assess habitat, to search for newt eggs wrapped in plant leaves and search for newts under stones or other site debris followed by a series of night time visits to torch survey the pond and /or set up bottle traps depending on site conditions.

One of the drains at Powfoot

One of the drains at Powfoot

Survey at Torrs Warren for great crested newts

Survey at Torrs Warren for great crested newts