Monitoring the moors

Volunteers surveying for grassland fungi on Marsden Moor

Surveying and monitoring of Marsden Moor has been taking place for years with a group of dedicated volunteers, usually whatever the weather. They carry out a range of surveys for different animals and plants, as well as monitoring the impact of our moorland restoration work.

From 2011 – 2014 the survey group received a boost from SITA Trust through the Marsden Moor Bog Biodiversity project. SITA Trust provides funding through the Landfill Communities Fund. Funding is available for community and environmental groups to carry out a range of improvement projects.
 
The funding has enabled us to develop the skills of our volunteer team, providing opportunities for training in sphagnum ID, bird surveys and grassland fungi surveys amongst others. The project has funded ecological surveys of the birds and invertebrates on Marsden Moor, allowing us to establish baseline data and providing us with information to help inform our restoration works.
 
The work of the survey volunteers is varied, and they have a programme of surveying and monitoring that runs throughout the year. Recent projects include surveying for Sphagnum , a type of moss that has a key role in the formation of new peat. Since 2012 we have also been working with the RSPB to survey for Dunlin, a small wading bird that breeds on blanket bog and which has been declining in numbers in the UK.
 
The data collected by the group play an important role in allowing us to monitor changes in wildlife and habitats over time, and to identify the impact of our restoration work on this important landscape.