We have set up a bioblitz project to showcase the amazing array of wildlife that lives in this irreplaceable habitat- its not just only about the peat and the hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide it holds! The bioblitz project has only properly been running since April 2022 and we are already over 300 species.
The project can be viewed here on iNaturalist.
There has been a lamentable lack of recording of the wildlife exists on the proposed development area as part of the planning process, for example an invertebrate survey was completed on a single wet day in November. It is an irreplaceable habitat than we already know has some star species that are very rare in both Cheshire East and the UK as a whole such as Willow Tit and Dingy Skipper butterfly.
Legally Protected Species and Habitat
So far we have uncovered over 20 legally protected species, these are ‘species classed as Section 41 species of principle importance for the purpose of conserving biodiversity‘. Local authorities have a legal duty to have regard to conserving biodiversity.
In addition to the wildlife already found, the whole of the proposed development area itself is a lowland raised peat bog which is a section 41 habitat of principle importance. More information can be viewed here on Wikipedia.
This is where anyone can help with the process of recording the biodiversity onsite, we are using iNaturalist to compile all of the observations. This then makes it easy for us to export it into the biodiversity databases the planning ecologists use and for us to extract the key information to add to the planning documentation.
If you want to join in (anybody can!), simply create a free account on the iNaturalist website and download the free app (Android or Apple) and take pictures with your mobile (or camera if you want to) and upload. Most mobiles take really good pictures now and some have bespoke settings such as macro functions that can help. Try to get the best focussed view of the subject and multiple shots where needed, e.g. flowers and leaves, as these help greatly with identification, also double check the location is correct.
We are interested in anything onsite from common nettles to rare bugs, don’t worry about the identification as other users soon help.
The iNaturalist help pages are here for answers to more detailed questions.
There is also a larger area mapped within iNaturalist that covers all sightings across the whole Moss including the SSSI and the proposed development area. This is starting to show the array of biodiversity that is likely to be impacted with this development across the whole moss. Sightings can be seen here.