28 May 2019 Supporting Professional Development: Reptile Survey and Mitigation Training For Ecologists
Reptile survey work needs to be designed in a project-specific manner to allow impacts on populations to be accurately assessed and appropriate mitigation designed.
Our latest graduate training workshop, held in May 2019, provided attendees with an overview of British reptile ecology, and an opportunity to discuss the scope and specification of reptile survey and mitigation when faced with different development scenarios.
Purpose of Training
The reptile training day was designed to help attendees understand the critical questions they need to ask when scoping and designing reptile survey work, and to familiarise them with survey techniques and guidance documents.
The course covered the legislative protection afforded to reptiles, the ecology of the six British reptile species including: identification, lifecycle, habitat preferences and range; how and when to survey; and, determining when mitigation is required and how to design mitigation that is both proportionate and effective.
The applicability, practicalities and limitations of survey techniques were also presented and discussed. To maximise the effectiveness of this element of the training, there was a practical session looking at multiple local habitats. Participants were challenged to propose an approach with regard to reptile survey and mitigation under differing theoretical development scenarios.
The course provider was Principal Ecologist Peter Newbold. Peter has worked with all six species of native reptiles for over ten years and holds a Natural England survey licence for smooth snake and sand lizard.
‘I found it really useful to learn about the ecology of different reptile species, and how their life histories influence effective survey design. I also found the insight into how guidance on monitoring is interpreted particularly useful.’ Hannah Daniels, Ecologist
‘The reptile training was really useful in looking at the ecology of each UK reptile species; including their habitat preferences, foraging techniques and lifecycles, and applying this knowledge to the methods used to survey a potential development site. We also learnt about different reptile mitigation options, such as the use of reptile fencing, translocation and destructive search, and in what situations each option may be considered most appropriate. After attending this training I feel much more confident in reptile survey design and recommending proportionate mitigation options to clients.’ Emma Bruce, Ecologist