Despite the cuts in public expenditure, there is still grant money out there, and Cornwall's Wildlife Trust secured some £50K of it to carry out a highly professional baseline survey of the North coast of Cornwall.
CWT's Caz Waddell came north to Barnstaple to give Coastwise members, a highly supportive and receptive audience, a privileged inside view of the 2-year survey.
Caz generally used 2-3 full-time equivalent staff and volunteers to survey every single metre of N Cornwall coastline, 450Km in total approximately. Accessing it was at times difficult difficult, hence the use of a boat for 40%, kayak for 9% and the rest by foot.
The survey was primarily of the biotopes encountered. Biotopes are part of a nationally recognised classification system developed by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Countryside Council for Wales. This provides standardised codes for all of the possible intertidal habitat types (called biotopes), which can be used to objectively analyse the data collected by Intertidal Discovery. To date, biotope mapping on the scale of Intertidal Discovery has never before been attempted anywhere in England.To qualify as a biotope, a habitat must exceed an area of 5 m x 5 m. These were recorded directly onto electronic devices enabled for GIS, so that location maps were available on download, without data re-entry.
The results are all avilable to the public at www.marinedatacornwall.org/intertidal_discovery.
The survey was not intended as an exhaustive inventory of species, although those encountered were recorded. It is intended to function more as a public resource for analysis over the next few years, and doubtless will be used to store new data.