Borrowed from a Birdforum thread but worth a wider audience:
Reading through this thread I am picking up that there is a lack of information in the birding community regarding the EA/Flooding and breeding birds at the reserve. To help clarify and maybe instill some hope I wanted to let you all know the facts around the current situation. I hope it is useful and interesting to you all who want to see the wildlife thrive at the reserve.
Almost three years ago now we were made aware of an opportunity to put in an application for a grant from Viridor Credits Envirinmental. We only had a very short window of time to work up the application so used what we knew and also some well informed estimates to create a model for the landscaping that we now know as the Jubilee Wetlands. During this process we also had a site visit with the Envirinment Agency to discuss the plans and the options for sluices. They indicated that despite protocol for not having any restrictions within the flood plain we might be able to find a compromise that works for them and us using limited time closure and also high water spill ways. We therefore proceeded with the design on that basis.
After winning the grant we moved to get the relevant permissions from the EA for the works and at this stage were informed that the data that they need to consider and consent to the proposal was far more than the local data that we hold and would take quite a bit of time to pull together (by a hydrological consultants with the kit and expertise). The time line for spending the grant was not long enough for this data to be gathered so we were not able to include the sluices in the works.
We have not abandoned this though and now have several sophisticated data loggers positioned around the site and in the river plus we have assigned a consultant to work up the application to the EA with the 'flood risk assessement' required for them to consent. Once we have all the data we will be able to discuss again with the EA what is possible gain consent and can then install the sluices to protect the breeding areas.
We are hopefull that this can be progressed and have it as a high priority to get sorted. It may not be in time for the next breeding season I am afraid as the works would ideally be completed in late summer/autumn but hopefully we will at least have the data then permissions, design and money all lined up to do the works n 2015. This may seem a long drawn out affair but anyone who has seen Middleton Lakes develop will know that we have invested a huge amount of money in it and to do everything right sometimes takes time.
I appreciate that some of this may all seem like point less bureaucracy but the EA have a lot of pressure to maintain the valley as a functioning flood plain for Tamworth. If we are successful with the scheme and can have a protected breeding area for waders and other ground nesting species it would be a great showcase for other sites with similar circumstances and could set a precident for the EA to allow some structures in other flood plains.
Not perfect I know but watch this space.
Hopefully that is helpful information, if anyone has any specific questions or comments about this or any other aspect of the reserve please feel free to email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you all the best,
Senior Site Manager
RSPB Middleton Lakes