Green Shoots in North Wales
Welcome to the Green Shoots in North Wales web pages. Here you can find out about the various conservation projects that people who shoot are getting involved with. These projects are carefully selected both to improve people’s enjoyment of shooting and to provide the evidence that shooting is excellent for conservation. BASC can then present this evidence to politicians, decision-makers, the media and the public to help protect and promote the sport.
Green Shoots in North Wales started in 2005 when BASC asked members living in North Wales to complete a survey of the wildlife on their shooting land. Back then this was done by completing a paper survey. This work has now been expanded nationwide into the Green Shoots Mapping project which enables members anywhere in the UK to map their shooting land through our online portal. We are encouraging all members to use it as a way of managing their shoot and recording the wildlife they see there.
In North Wales, we are working with a large range of conservation partners, some of whom provide funding, to offer members projects which achieve conservation targets while providing benefit to their shoots. Together we have achieved a great deal and gained a lot of support for shooting because of it.
If you’d like to join Green Shoots North Wales, or have moved/expanded shooting grounds, please use Green Shoots Mapping, BASC’s mapping system for members.
If you haven’t already done so, then please log on to the Green Shoots Mapping, map your shoot and provide wildlife records. Providing this information, wherever your shoot is, will help BASC protect and promote the sport. You can also produce custom maps of your shoot, marking relevant data such as access points, drive locations, high seats, etc to share with friends or Guns.
For those of you who provided data on the paper survey maps back in 2006, thank you. You have helped protect the future of our sport. When you log into Green Shoots Mapping you will see the shoots you told us about in the paper survey already mapped and waiting for you. You can then amend the shoot boundary if you need to as well as update the record of species and habitats that use it.
Please use Green Shoots Mapping; you’ll be helping us protect and promote shooting while benefitting from being able to manage and monitor your land online.
Water voles have two main requirements: suitable habitat and protection from predation by the American mink. This project tackles both requirements but starts with mink control as mink can devastate water vole colonies.
We have developed trapping in a number of key areas but our primary focus is across the Llyn Peninsula up the Menai Straits. This area is selected for two reasons. Firstly there are still water voles that need protection from mink in this area and secondly, controlling mink on the peninsula and along the Menai Straits will stop mink getting on to Anglesey where there is a nationally important population of water voles.
Currently we have more than 100 rafts and traps being used by BASC members, fishermen and conservation partners across North Wales. This network of volunteers is culling over 100 mink per year and following habitat management advice to help water voles.
We need to develop the mink control network further so, if you have access to waterways across north Wales then please use the Contact tab to get in touch. BASC can provide training and loan rafts and traps for those volunteering. You can also download Mink control – Guidance from BASC to promote best practice from the download tab to read essential guidance.
Our native red squirrels need active protection from grey squirrels if the species is going to survive. Control of greys is important because they carry the squirrel Parapox virus which leaves them unaffected but is fatal to red squirrels. Greys also out-compete reds for food and, when in high densities, prevent young reds from breeding and establishing territories. Grey squirrels also eat birds’ eggs and cause damage to woodlands and pheasant feeders, so their control has many benefits.
We are working with the Red Squirrels Trust Wales and the Mammals In a Sustainable Environment project to encourage people to trap and dispatch grey squirrels, particularly concentrating on the areas surrounding the larger known populations of red squirrels on Anglesey, in Gwynedd near Bangor, in the Cynwyd/Corwen area and Clocaenog forest.
We need help to expand the network of people providing sightings of red and grey squirrels and getting involved in grey squirrel control. Your own back garden might be a suitable place for this project as well as any shooting land you may have. If you can help then use the Contact tab and get in touch.
Dormice are protected by UK and European law and they are often found on land used for shooting because the way it is managed suits their requirements. We have followed up records of dormice provided by BASC members and have installed dormouse nest boxes in the most promising woodlands, which are checked at least twice each summer.
After finding dormice for the first time in years in a wood in Denbighshire, checks at the end in 2012 and 2013 found both adult and young, so we hope that the population will continue to increase.
Our partners in the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the North Wales Wildlife Trust are keen to know where populations exist and are willing to help check boxes and provide conservation advice.
If you think you might have dormice on your shooting land then please use the Contact tab and get in touch.
Pine marten are native predators which are common in Northern Ireland, Scotland and parts of England but much more rarely found in Wales. From scoring the sightings of pine marten from BASC members in North Wales, we are working on three shoots where we have put up den boxes and hair tubes to collect evidence of this elusive mammal. Den boxes replicate the holes in trees pine marten like to use for rearing their young. Hair tubes are plastic pipes attached several feet up a tree trunk which have food pinned at the top and sticky pads near the bottom. When pine martens climb up inside to get the food some of their hairs stick to the pads. These hairs are then sent for genetic analysis.
To date we have recorded a tree-climbing otter in our hair tubes but a male pine marten was found killed on the road near Newtown, so they are definitely out there. If you think have seen a pine marten then use the Contact tab and get in touch.
Connecting existing woodlands and hedgerows with new areas of planting is of great benefit to many plant and animal species, particularly those which are less mobile such as dormice and bluebells. It also provides extra shelter and cover for pheasants and other game, as well as livestock.
Natural Resources Wales wants to increase links between woodlands and hedgerows, particularly next to water courses, to help meet targets on conservation and water quality. Funds are available to meet the cost of planting new woodlands and hedgerows. The map shows the areas where these funds can be spent.
Funding is also available from Cadwyn Clwyd (in Denbighshire and Flintshire), the Woodland Trust and the AoNBs for similar work.
If you would like to increase both the size and quality of woodland and hedgerow on your shooting land then use the Contact tab and get in touch. We have a lot of experience of working with shoots and the farmers and landowners they take their shooting from which means that conservation projects benefit all parties.
Shooting occurs over all of Wales including protected sites like Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Natural Resources Wales has strict targets to meet in terms of the condition of these important sites and shooting can be a real asset in helping them achieve them.
Therefore we are working with Natural Resources Wales and the RSPB on the upland SSSI called Mynydd Hiraethog in Denbighshire. The site is one of the most important for breeding waders in Wales. Although the habitat provides suitable breeding conditions for birds like curlew and lapwing, these species are not producing as many chicks as expected in certain areas. It has been suggested that predation could be responsible for this anomaly but there is currently no data on the level of predator control in the area.
Consequently BASC has been requesting information on predator control from landowners, tenants and people who shoot over the SSSI. Last year the data provided was mainly for fox control, with over 500 foxes shot. However there are still more people out there who could contribute information. Also there are areas where no control is taking place and these act as reservoirs for foxes to move out from.
One thing is clear: predator control needs to take place in a co-ordinated fashion at a landscape scale if it is to effectively reduce the impacts of predation across the SSSI.
Data will continue to be gathered, ideally using a bag return form similar those used by wildfowling clubs, in an effort to assess the level of effort being put in over certain areas in terms of man days and the number of predators killed as a result. This can then be better correlated against the main areas for which we have breeding data.
If you control predators on Mynydd Hiraethog or the land adjoining it, please use the Contact tab and get in touch. We need more information if we are to show the benefits of legal predator control for conservation.
Invasive non-native species cause problems for our native wildlife and there are some major culprits in North Wales including Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed and Giant Hogweed. Once again shoots can help by providing information on where the problem species are and getting involved in removing them.
Himalayan balsam is found mainly near water but spreads rapidly into adjacent woodlands. It affects native plants by shading them out and when it dies back, leaves the ground bare and vulnerable to erosion. It is easily removed by pulling or strimming.
Japanese knotweed is much more difficult to remove and so it is essential to tackle it as soon as it is noticed. Giant hogweed can be controlled by cutting but extreme care is needed as the sap is an irritant to skin and eyes.
We are working with partners to map where these three species of invasive plants are and then eradicate them.
If you have any of these species on your shooting land, please use the Contact tab to let us know. Alternatively you can record where you find these the plants by mapping it on our Green Shoots Mapping website, or, if you have a smartphone, using the new Plant Tracker app” which is available for Apple and Android phones.
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