Update on the Anafon community hydro. We have had to accelerate some of the surveys because of seasonality aspects. No use surveying for grass land fungi in winter and spring because you wont see any. Bryophyte is also better in Autumn or if your specialist is only available for a few weeks. Sure enough if you’re not looking for an ecological niche plant then you are sure to find it. We have two hot spots as they call them for a very rare form of magic mushroom which is right on the pipe route and does not take well to being disturbed or trans-located. The Bryophyte is also very water level sensitive. Typical, on first look the habitats looked very poor but nature abhors a vacuum and can soon fill it.
The next challenge is the grid. or should i say the cost of the Grid. If we stay under 300kw then it’s reasonable but not an insignificant couple of hundred thousand pounds. If we go to the potential 500kw then we could be looking at double that.
So what dictates the size of the hydro? At the moment Ecology is king and grid is secondary. We now need to work with the ecologists, Countryside Council of Wales and the Environmental agency to see what the precautionary approach looks like in terms of how much water we leave in the river. We need to leave a significant amount of water in the river for potential migrating fish (a consideration we already knew of) We will then sort out the grid aspect. The magic mushrooms are a simple mater of re routing the pipe to avoid the site (sounds simple).
Overall this is not unexpected in terms of adapting and having to mitigate and work with the ‘weft’ of the landscape. So far changing and having to re-evaluate is nice and consistent with every other hydro I have work on.