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Come Hell or High Water

... Looks like both have come to Somerset in the last few weeks.  There have been times when it has felt like the end of the world may be imminent.   Extreme winds, torrential rains, extensive flooding - mass evacuations of people and livestock... quite apocalyptic scenes and a definite reminder of the power of nature and water. 

White horses on West Sedgemoor - Feb 6th 2014. Flood level over 6m, land height 5m above sea level.

For many local people, businesses and farms the flooding has been very damaging indeed -  and the situation is still continuing - with Levels rising, and more properties and livlihoods being affected.

Local communities, government agencies, and councils and are pulling together to deal with the immediate situation - and a multi-stakeholder task force is working hard to develop a plan that will help to prevent a similar catastrophy in the future.     

The cranes themselves have become quite restricted in the amount of available habitat down on the moors to forage (although of course there are thousands of hectares of suitable higher ground should they wish to use it).  Supplementary feed is being supplied - but they are not yet coming to it and all seem to be doing OK.  They are remarkable and adaptable birds.   

The cranes would typically be starting to pair up, select nest sites and hold territories through February and March but many of the best nesting locations down on the moors, are deeply flooded.  West Sedgemoor for instance, has around 10 million cubic metres (10 million tonnes) of water on it at the moment - all of which will need to be pumped out.  This will take at least 6 weeks - probably more.  

Whether Spring 2014 will be the first year that cranes breed in Somerset for 400 yrs hangs in the balance.




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Damon’s role is to act as the hub of the project - making sure everyone involved knows what is going on and that it is all running smoothly. He is also responsible for project community awareness work in Somerset, construction of the release enclosure, and running the post release monitoring work in Somerset.  Damon works alongside the RSPB reserve teams in Somerset.