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Natural England Award Plymouth Sound Rocky Shore Condition Monitoring Review to MESL
16th August 2017
MESL has been commissioned by Natural England to carry out a desk based study in order to assess their recently updated methodology for Rocky Shore Condition Monitoring (RSCM) of intertidal rocky habitats. RSCM provides a way of conducting site condition assessments and is highly valuable for collecting environmental information on a protected site. The new methodology was tested during summer 2016 within the Plymouth Sound and Estuaries Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and its component Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The aim of this project is to conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of Natural England’s updated RSCM methodology, to analyse the data collected and to review the data sufficiency. MESL have assessed the suitability of the methods within the complex SAC by examining the extent and distribution of intertidal rocky habitats, mapping biotopes monitored during the survey and comparing these with previous assessments and analysing community composition across the site including the presence and abundance of non-native species. The intention is to use these results to inform future survey planning within Natural England and to allow for a condition assessment of Plymouth Sound and Estuaries SAC, with a specific focus on the sub-feature intertidal rock, whilst providing data to help inform future management measures of the site.