The construction of the bridge involved disturbance to the sea shore which resulted in the direct loss of several ha’s of mudflat and salt marsh habitat. MVJV were required to mitigate against these impacts by creating new habitat nearby, through a process known as managed realignment. This involved moving the sea wall back to allow the tide to inundate the restoration areas which had for many decades previously been protected from the sea.
TransportScotlandwho were overseeing the work required MVJV to quantify the degree to which the restoration measures were successful. SCL was recommended to MVJV as having all the capabilities required to design and deliver the required program of monitoring.
In the first phase of work SCL visited site and surveyed the extent of each area being restored. We then worked on the new mudflat area, and a reference site adjacent, to characterise the nature of the marine invertebrate communities present in each. The aim was to ascertain the degree to which the restored community resembled the undisturbed natural community.
In the second phase of work we undertook an assessment of the plant communities developing on the new section of saltmarsh and compared this to an adjacent reference area. A detailed analysis and report was submitted to MVJV at the time and a program of long-term monitoring agreed.