Once again many thanks to our student volunteers who came to the bulb planting sessions over the last few weeks helping to make the campus a more attractive place to work and also helping our pollenating insects.
Many different projects going on at the moment on campus,upgrading the ducting infrastructure for IT being one of them. At least we were made aware of this part of the project along the side of Gaskell. We can revisit the planting along this section to put something more appropriate when we know the project is finished and hopefully no-one else needs to dig there .
Thought this would be a suitable time for a quick brief on the pond and the multiple challenges we face with maintaining it, so here goes:
The pond is constructed out of concrete with steep sloped sides all round and only about 750mm deep right the way across with no variation. Perfect conditions for the water to heat up quickly so algal blooms can be frequent especially with the levels of phosphorus in the water -likely coming from the mains water top up, bird droppings and food thrown in for the fish as well as vegetative matter breaking down, bottom feeding fish like carp disturb the sediment layer also releasing phosphorus. The two turbines which were installed can only run during the day and are so aggressive they disturb the sediment also releasing phosphorus (in the form of soluble reactive phosphate).It is surrounded by pavement and close to the road so run off is an issue and so is people stepping from a vehicle, on their phone and falling in(yes this has happened)
How do we manage these issues, well the first thing, turn off the turbines, the next was to install floating reed beds to assist in covering water surface, give a protective barrier along the kerb side, fitting a curtain underneath the reed beds creating a protective habitat for zooplankton such as daphnia which are very efficient at filtering pond water and removing algal particles, also establishing a beneficial food chain. The resident heron helps by keeping the growing fish numbers under control. The results are slow but judging by the amount of wildlife this year especially damsel flies and dragonflies the process is working, if we can control the amount of debris entering the pond even better, who knows we may even get the bats back feeding again.
(More detail can be found on our web pages soon)
After the failure of one weeping willow which fell across the river we now need to reduce in size the leaning willow right next to the accommodation office, this will have to be done on Saturday when the activity in the building area is minimal, there will be noise so be prepared if your in the vicinity!
It was good to see all the hard work being carried out by a small team paying off and being recognised with Brunel’s first Green Flag Award !
Plenty of activity all around campus at the moment, many different contractors working on site digging trenches, holes and pulling out shrubberies with compounds on both Site One and Two making it difficult for the team to access areas in some cases, we hope to cover most areas over the next few of weeks when we have access and the reinstatement works are completed as per specifications.
One from the Science Park, doubt whether it was on the architect’s drawings though!
Yes we actually have a wild flower meadow over on Site One, plants such as Perennial Cornflower, Field Scabious, Ladies Bedstraw, Vetch, Wild Carrot, Yarrow, Trefoil to name just a few. The area is rich in wildlife providing a great source of food for many species including bees feeding off the nectar, dragonflies and later on in the evening the Brunel bats feeding off insects. The meadow will be cut soon and the material left to dry out a little before being collected. This is to reduce the nutrients in the soil and to control ta number of grass species becoming too dominant.
Very busy over the last few weeks with school sports days, athletes’ from various countries in preparation for world championships and also Jacksonville Jaguars running a training camp for a few days-two American football pitches marked up and then a quick turnaround for Women’s rugby Union England under 21’s v Spain, not to mention summer schools sports activities, summer pitches for football training and school holiday sports camps how do we fit it all in!