WeBS data and monitoring
The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK.
It is more than a simple bird count; rather it can be used as an important measure of biodiversity for any stretch of coastline.
The decline or increase or various bird species can be used to measure the abundance of food sources, rates of recreational disturbance and changes in geomorphology and vegetation among many other factors.
Dee Estuary WeBS data for the last decades is available to view on the BTO website here:
Benthic Invertebrates survey
Increased vegetative cover leads to increased biodiversity, which includes a broader range of food sources for a wider variety of birdlife. It is therefore likely that Hoylake will see more bird species, as well as a broader range of invertebrates and insects appearing over the coming years as saltmarsh and dune succession emerge.
With this in mind, we are looking forward to publishing a further important source of data on this website in the coming months as a masters student undertakes a study of Benthic Invertebrates.
These are organisms that live in the sediment, have no backbone, and are particularly sensitive to disturbance. Their abundance, diversity, biomass and species composition are good indicators of changing environmental conditions.
Monitoring Benthic Invertebrates is therefore a useful tool in quantifying the effect of salt marsh shoreline stabilization and restoration approaches on habitat quality, water quality, sediment grain size and carbon and nitrogen content.