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Making a positive difference to Flintshire’s Coast

Published: 23/05/2018

Local organisations and students from Flintshire have been working together at Talacre to protect and enhance the area’s biodiversity and coastal environment – all aimed at making a positive difference to Flintshire’s Coastline. The exciting developments are thanks to some excellent collaboration between Flintshire’s Countryside Service and local students from Coleg Cambria. The two groups have worked closely together in the past, using old Christmas trees to strengthen the dunes system at Talacre, but in early May they came together again to try out some Natterjack Toad predator protection designs. Coleg Cambria’s students have regularly used the area to participate in engineering projects but this year the students were presented with a different challenge. Over a series of visits more than 30 students and their lecturers worked alongside Countryside Service Rangers and landowners, Eni, to design something to help protect the rare Natterjack Toads in the area from increasing predation. The sand dune system ’Gronant Dunes and Talacre Warren’ has the only established population of Natterjack Toads in Wales. It is also the rarest amphibian in the UK and an incredible amount of work goes into protecting and monitoring the species every year. When it was noticed recently that some spawn strings and tadpoles were getting predated in the ponds at Talacre, the Countryside Service took the task of protecting them to the Coleg Cambria students and they’ve achieved some fabulous results! Rangers went in to the college to talk to two groups of engineering students and set them with the task of designing something to protect the Natterjacks from this predation. In working groups the Rangers and Students identified three designs to trial. These designs have now been installed and will be closely monitored until the end of the season. Flintshire Coast and Countryside Ranger, Tim Johnson, said of the project: “Coleg Cambria’s students have been retuning regularly to Talacre over the years and Flintshire’s Countryside Team is grateful for the strong working relationship which has been developed with the Rangers. The students on this project were really good and worked hard. They were able to adapt as the project developed and problems arose. “I would like to thank Anke Kadelka-Williams from Coleg Cambria for her support year after year and also thank the students for their efforts. They were a hard-working, well-mannered and intelligent group who the college should be proud of. We hope we can continue working with the college for years to come.” Flintshire County Councils Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Countryside, Councillor Carolyn Thomas, said: “This project highlights the value of working partnerships. We are grateful for the support of Coleg Cambria, who have been involved for many years and look forward to partnership work in the future. Well done and thank you to all those involved for the work to make a positive difference to this species”.