Our services span almost the full range of professional ecological support you may require from undertaking surveys and assessment for inform planning decisions to developing mitigation, management, monitoring, and habitat enhancement following planning approval.
We provide training and capacity building and are currently working on a new system of GIS based infographics to help deliver clear, concise project results in an easily assimilated manner.
Site Assessments & Habitat mapping
The first step of any ecological survey is to undertake a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA), a Phase 1 Habitat Survey (P1HS) or an extended Phase 1 habitat survey (EP1HS).
These provide the basis from which further survey requirements are identified and implemented to effectively fill the gaps in our ecological knowledge regarding the site.
During these initial surveys the site will be mapped documenting broad habitat characteristics and features that are shown to support, or could support protected species. The surveys normally involve an element of desk-based study to summarise existing data and identify nearby protected sites.
A more detailed form of habitat mapping is also possible. The National Vegetation Classification (NVC) provides a detailed assessment of plant communities within a site and also identifies features such as ground water dependent terrestrial ecosystems (GWDTE), though the latter require further assessment.
NWC provides ideal solutions to assessing the impacts of developments in biodiversity hotspots around the world.
Many of these areas are depauperate in ecological data and lacking in skilled ecologists to complete survey work to a suitably high standard. We have worked on a variety of schemes including renewable energy, mining and infrastructure projects. The support we provide allows projects to progress within the scope of funders guidance allowing clients to meet the required performance standards.
Training & Capacity Building
Training is an essential element of professional development and is something we take great pride in formulating and delivering.
Whilst there are many courses on offer we have chosen to focus on youth development within the industry and camera trap training. We will add details of structured ecology training to this page but also offer bespoke in-house training in camera trap application and use. Why not get in touch with us at email@example.com to find out more?
As well as training we also conduct in-country capacity building to enable local ecologists to deliver essential ecological monitoring at a high level.
The demands of bird surveys are often complex and generally site specific. Many require complimentary methods to accurately assess and quantify the potential impacts of a development on the avifauna.
These include flight activity surveys to inform collision risk modeling for wind farms, tidal counts to inform marine and coastal developments, breeding bird and upland wader surveys, or species-specific surveys.
NWC is fully experienced in all survey methods having worked on over 100 wind farm projects throughout the UK as well as in Europe. We have also undertaking bird surveys in relation to road, rail, mineral and housing projects including long-term monitoring of species such as Stone-curlew, radio-tracking Little Terns, and breeding monitoring of Honey Buzzards and other schedule 1 raptors.
Our field experience always us to rapidly assess the likely key species present within a site which helps to tailor the surveys right from the start of the process.
Marine Mammals & Sharks
We have extensive experience in surveying marine mammals and sharks from being active Marine Mammal Observers (MMOs) on board boats assessing the impacts of offshore renewable energy developments to focusing on key species, for instance Atlantic Humpback Dolphin. We have also been heavily involved with undertaking a scoping assessment of aerial survey methods for marine megafauna culminating in the production of a new methodology for monitoring Basking Sharks and cetaceans in the Hebrides Marine Protected Area (MPA).
We are exceptionally experienced in surveying these cryptic and elusive species.
Many are protected under national and international legislation but the majority of mammals can be problematic to survey as we often have to rely on tracks, signs and ever-increasingly, remote monitoring methods. At NWC we employ a combination of methods to best suit the species and the required scope of the assessment to generate the most robust data possible. reliable and reproducible?
Our expertise is wide-ranging and we cover the following species in the UK:
Badger, Otter, Water Vole, Pine Marten, Wildcat, Red Squirrel, and Mountain Hare.
Recently we have been involved with establishing new methods for species such as Mountain Hare making monitoring significantly easier and more informative. reducing costs for clients whilst producing reliable, robust and reproducible information?
Additionally we hold a substantial stock of camera traps which help deliver rigorous data to support monitoring activities as well as presence/likely absence surveys. An example…, and activity monitoring for instance Badger sett monitoring and Scottish wildcats. See our Camera trapping for more information.
Reptiles & Amphibians
Despite the UKs relatively low diversity of herptiles (Reptiles and Amphibians), all reptiles, and several amphibians are protected by law.
They are widespread throughout Britain and as a result we are frequently engaged in dedicated surveys to determine presence/likely absence and abundance. Following this we are able to employ suitable survey and monitoring, and mitigation methods and associated protection, mitigation, and habitat enhancement measures.
As well as the commoner species we are also experienced in undertaking Natterjack toad surveys.
Invertebrates are some of the best indicators of rich habitats but are often be an over-looked, and can be tricky to monitor. We are experienced in surveying many groups including all Lepidoptera, Odanata, and Orthoptera , as well as more taxonomically challenging groups.
Our surveys range from in-depth focal surveys on areas of micro-habitats to landscape-scale transects when monitoring butterflies.
Camera trapping has rocketed in popularity as a tool for monitoring and as assessment. It provides a sound, cost-effective and defensible method of confirming presence, assessing distribution and even estimating abundance.
AtNWC we have over 30,000 nights under our belts and now apply camera trap technology to a host of monitoring methods. As camera traps have become more popular the variations in the standards of application are huge; we pride ourselves at NWC in using high specification units combined with our extensive background to answer almost any question.
As well as more traditional uses such as Badger sett monitoring we are experienced in using cameras for assessing Pine Martens, Wildcats, Water Voles, completing baseline inventories. and applying their use abroad from desert species, to boreal and even tropical forests.