Butterfly Conservation partnership off to a flying start

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Thames Water’s partnership with the Butterfly Conservation is flying high, with no chance of being mothballed. 

Managing over 5,000 operational and recreational sites stretching from Cirencester in the west, to the edges of Essex and including London, many of Thames Water’s sites are home to important habitats, valuable to wildlife such as chalk grasslands, meadows, woodlands and hedgerows. 

The partnership, established last year, has already seen volunteers undertake extensive work across three Thames Water sites at Chinnor, Winchester Wood and Wendover Dean, with the Conservation providing biodiversity training to the company’s grounds maintenance teams, carrying out surveys and food/plant assessments. 

Thames Water’s biodiversity manager, Ian Crump, said: “This partnership has been excellent and we’re very keen to continue and expand this relationship. With so many open spaces, we take conservation seriously and partnerships such as this help us to introduce and help wildlife thrive.”

[Above: A rare Marbled White butterfly [Melanargia galathea], thriving at a Thames Water site] 

Steve Wheatley of Butterfly Conservation, said: “The three Thames Water sites we worked on in 2017 include some excellent habitat and flowering plants for butterflies and other pollinators. It’s lovely to see wildlife existing alongside the day-to-day operation of these sites. We look forward to continuing to work with Thames Water on these sites and others in the Thames catchment.” 

Of the three sites worked on so far, two have the potential to support the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly (Hamearis lucina), which is only found in England and whose numbers have declined rapidly in recent decades. It is hoped that in the near future Thames Water can play a leading role in boosting this species numbers. 

The company will also be getting staff involved in the Big Butterfly Count, which starts on the 20 July. 

More information on the Butterfly Conservation can be found here.