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Monitoring Field Survey

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What is the Monitoring Field Survey?

After the restoration activities have been completed, a monitoring field survey will be undertaken on an annual basis to confirm that the post-restoration water table depth (WTD) has risen in line with the restoration plan and to gather further evidence of improvement in peatland condition.  The data gathered will also be used to further calibrate the satellite observations.

Activities for the Monitoring Field Survey

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Survey Points

Survey point locations are in the same locations as the baseline survey locations, in order to provide consistency and evidence of change.

Measuring Annual Water Table Depth

As for the baseline survey, water table depth (WTD) requires measurement at the survey points to confirm eligibility and to calibrate the satellite measurements.  It can be measured several ways, using dip wells, rust rods or peat cameras, for example.

Importantly, WTD needs to be measured several times a year as the main parameter that we need to calculate is the annual WTD, which is the average of all observations over the course of the year.  A permanent installation, such as a peat camera, will be making measurements very frequently but the digital measurements still have to be collected in the field, albeit infrequently.  For more manual methods, such as using dip wells and rust rods, the locations will need to be re-visited at least four times per year and the measurements made in the field.

Identifying Peat Condition

For the monitoring survey, we are identifying changes in the condition of the peat following restoration and relative to the baseline survey observations.  Therefore, the approach for the baseline survey will be applied at the survey points using the same approaches and methodologies, most of which rely on good observations of general landscape features.

The features to be reported on include:

  • Hydrology (e.g. the water levels in ditches)

  • Peat structure, such as wetness under foot, the bounciness of the peat and the 'humification' (how much is is rotting)

  • The condition of management structures such as dams, bunds and boardwalks

  • Inspection of natural site features such as pools and plant communities

Surveys like this will be repeated annually as a part of the monitoring survey, so the use of digital technology such as smartphones to collect time- and geo-tagged pictures and panoramic views from the same locations each time will be necessary.

There are a number of academic and institutional groups that have written some good guides on the collection of field data over peatlands.  For example: Eyes on the BogDefra Report.

The Peatland Protocol Field App

The Peatland Protocol team are developing a field app for the collection of data using a smartphone or tablet mobile device.  The app will be easy to use and facilitate the collection of data and the GPS location of waypoints.  Furthermore, it will allow the automatic download of data into the Peatland Protocol data environment.

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