Concerns over high water levels on Canvey nature reserve

RSPB West Canvey Marsh off Canvey Road

RSPB West Canvey Marsh off Canvey Road

First published in Local News

A BUILD-UP of water at a Canvey nature reserve has prompted concern from councillors.

Weeks of heavy rainfall has meant huge volumes of surface water has been reported at the RSPB West Canvey Marsh off Canvey Road, causing concern it is not being properly drained.

Water levels on the island must be carefully monitored as the whole of Canvey is classified as a flood risk zone by the Environment Agency, meaning it is likely to suffer major flooding from rivers and seas if defences were not in place.

Dave Blackwell, leader of the Canvey Independent Party, said: “A lot of people are complaining about it because the water is far too high over there. In all my life I’ve never seen it so full of water.

“I appreciate the RSPB wants to attract wildlife but the huge reservoir of water should be adequate enough without the large bodies of water on the marshes. Being a flood plain we need to ensure the balance is right.”

Water levels on the wildlife haven are currently managed by the RSPB using electric pumps which take water to and from the main reservoir onto the wetlands.

However, in recent months the amount of water being allowed to remain on the 627-acre site has increased as the charity tries to encourage more winter birds to graze there.

Fourteen pumping stations across Canvey help drain excess surface water from the island into the Thames Estuary in times of heavy rainfall.

Calls are being made to install a new pumping station at a sluice in Northwick Road, to help better control the levels of surface water on the west of the island and the marshes.

Ray Howard, Tory councillor responsible for waste, floods and water management, said: “We hope it will curtail the amount of water that is currently laying on the marshes. People are contacting me saying they’ve never seen anything like it.

“I have no objections to the huge fleet of water over there, that is great and is a real attraction for the island, but we do not want all the fields filled with water. It has never been like that.”

David Hedges, Essex Area manager for the RSPB, said experts regularly check the depth of the water levels and the charity has strict guidelines from the Environment Agency as to how much water can be allowed on the land.

Electric probes are also in place to ensure the reservoir does not overflow.

He said: “We certainly want to manage the wetlands so that they do not affect our neighbours. In theory we could turn all the sluices down to the lowest level and the water would be drained in a few days.

“But the Thames Estuary provides a fantastic habitat for winter birds and since the 1930s we have lost of 90 per cent of our grazing marshes. By having these wind pumps we genuinely believe we actually improve the flood risk on Canvey.

“We welcome concerns about how we manage the marshlands and will be happy to meet with councillors to discuss this matter further.”

Comments (7)

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5:19pm Mon 11 Feb 13

Gridlock2 says...

It is a freaking marsh - what do you expect?
It is a freaking marsh - what do you expect? Gridlock2
  • Score: -1

5:48pm Mon 11 Feb 13

upset says...

Another scar story, BD knows full well this area was flooded when the marsh was taken over by RSPB to encourage wading birds. Drains were blocked to keep the water in and surprise surprise we have had a lot of rain.
More over the man from the RSPB says they are monitoring it, who knows best a leader of a political party who uses every opportunity to give the Echo a story and gain publicity.
Why did the Echo not ask the RSPB first if it was OK, when told it was and it was being monitored why did the editor say sorry Dave it's a non story?
Another scar story, BD knows full well this area was flooded when the marsh was taken over by RSPB to encourage wading birds. Drains were blocked to keep the water in and surprise surprise we have had a lot of rain. More over the man from the RSPB says they are monitoring it, who knows best a leader of a political party who uses every opportunity to give the Echo a story and gain publicity. Why did the Echo not ask the RSPB first if it was OK, when told it was and it was being monitored why did the editor say sorry Dave it's a non story? upset
  • Score: -2

7:10pm Mon 11 Feb 13

Cosmo Spring says...

quick, find someone to be the scapegoat.......
quick, find someone to be the scapegoat....... Cosmo Spring
  • Score: 0

7:55pm Mon 11 Feb 13

skinthegoat says...

Cosmo Spring wrote:
quick, find someone to be the scapegoat.......
Hey, hey.... I am fed up with being the scapegoat.....
(Only joking....) LOL

PS You're not Cosmo Spring(tide) are you?
[quote][p][bold]Cosmo Spring[/bold] wrote: quick, find someone to be the scapegoat.......[/p][/quote]Hey, hey.... I am fed up with being the scapegoat..... (Only joking....) LOL PS You're not Cosmo Spring(tide) are you? skinthegoat
  • Score: 0

12:22am Wed 13 Feb 13

Greatscot1777 says...

I thought the clue was in the name wetlands and marsh. The RSPB clearly wants to encourage wading birds. As farmers where I live are using "gun shot" bird scarers to keep the wildlife off their crops, you Canvey folk are lucky to have an area where birds are encouraged to stick around. I would only worry about the water level if the roads were threatened by it.
I thought the clue was in the name wetlands and marsh. The RSPB clearly wants to encourage wading birds. As farmers where I live are using "gun shot" bird scarers to keep the wildlife off their crops, you Canvey folk are lucky to have an area where birds are encouraged to stick around. I would only worry about the water level if the roads were threatened by it. Greatscot1777
  • Score: 0

9:04am Wed 13 Feb 13

John T Pharro says...

upset wrote:
Another scar story, BD knows full well this area was flooded when the marsh was taken over by RSPB to encourage wading birds. Drains were blocked to keep the water in and surprise surprise we have had a lot of rain.
More over the man from the RSPB says they are monitoring it, who knows best a leader of a political party who uses every opportunity to give the Echo a story and gain publicity.
Why did the Echo not ask the RSPB first if it was OK, when told it was and it was being monitored why did the editor say sorry Dave it's a non story?
Who is BD? Is not Councillor Howard concerned about the amount of water there? He is supporting a new pumping station to "curtail" the amount of water laying there. So he clearly believes there is a problem. So is it two political people wanting to be in the paper or two elected Councillors just trying to get something done about a possible problem?
[quote][p][bold]upset[/bold] wrote: Another scar story, BD knows full well this area was flooded when the marsh was taken over by RSPB to encourage wading birds. Drains were blocked to keep the water in and surprise surprise we have had a lot of rain. More over the man from the RSPB says they are monitoring it, who knows best a leader of a political party who uses every opportunity to give the Echo a story and gain publicity. Why did the Echo not ask the RSPB first if it was OK, when told it was and it was being monitored why did the editor say sorry Dave it's a non story?[/p][/quote]Who is BD? Is not Councillor Howard concerned about the amount of water there? He is supporting a new pumping station to "curtail" the amount of water laying there. So he clearly believes there is a problem. So is it two political people wanting to be in the paper or two elected Councillors just trying to get something done about a possible problem? John T Pharro
  • Score: 1

9:26am Wed 13 Feb 13

upset says...

John T Pharro wrote:
upset wrote:
Another scar story, BD knows full well this area was flooded when the marsh was taken over by RSPB to encourage wading birds. Drains were blocked to keep the water in and surprise surprise we have had a lot of rain.
More over the man from the RSPB says they are monitoring it, who knows best a leader of a political party who uses every opportunity to give the Echo a story and gain publicity.
Why did the Echo not ask the RSPB first if it was OK, when told it was and it was being monitored why did the editor say sorry Dave it's a non story?
Who is BD? Is not Councillor Howard concerned about the amount of water there? He is supporting a new pumping station to "curtail" the amount of water laying there. So he clearly believes there is a problem. So is it two political people wanting to be in the paper or two elected Councillors just trying to get something done about a possible problem?
My mistake got you to answer me, should read DB as you well know John, Have you worked out an answer about the voting yet?
Yes if we believe RSPB wanting a wet lands then both Councillors are at fault.
[quote][p][bold]John T Pharro[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]upset[/bold] wrote: Another scar story, BD knows full well this area was flooded when the marsh was taken over by RSPB to encourage wading birds. Drains were blocked to keep the water in and surprise surprise we have had a lot of rain. More over the man from the RSPB says they are monitoring it, who knows best a leader of a political party who uses every opportunity to give the Echo a story and gain publicity. Why did the Echo not ask the RSPB first if it was OK, when told it was and it was being monitored why did the editor say sorry Dave it's a non story?[/p][/quote]Who is BD? Is not Councillor Howard concerned about the amount of water there? He is supporting a new pumping station to "curtail" the amount of water laying there. So he clearly believes there is a problem. So is it two political people wanting to be in the paper or two elected Councillors just trying to get something done about a possible problem?[/p][/quote]My mistake got you to answer me, should read DB as you well know John, Have you worked out an answer about the voting yet? Yes if we believe RSPB wanting a wet lands then both Councillors are at fault. upset
  • Score: -1

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