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Title: Sustainable Recreation on Waterways - Assessing User Activity on Canals and Other Inland Waterways: A Comparison of Three Survey Methods
Author: University Liverpool
Author: Environment Agency
Document Type: Monograph
Annotation: Environment Agency Project ID:EAPRJOUT_1249, Representation ID: 413, Object ID: 2460
Following a previous study that the University of Liverpool undertook to investigate the level of wildlife disturbance caused by recreational inland waterway users, we highlighted that the lack of baseline information on all user activity was a significant problem in assessing the level of disturbance. As the effective management of user activity and wildlife disturbance depends on a thorough understanding of the actual activities involved and their temporal patterns and variability, we proposed two options to counter the dearth of existing data: 1. Strategic site surveys conducted by a team of observers; 2. A remote, mobile video method that would record all activities over pre-defined time periods. This report details the results of a study by our group during 2001, which compared two traditional observational methods (Point Sample and Walkthrough surveying) for the first of these options with the more technically advanced remote video methodology for the second. During the first phase of the study we determined the working limits of a remote video system both in its continuous recording mode and in its mode where activity triggers the video to record via motion detectors. We then deployed the system at a number of inland, navigable waterways (low use canals, high use canals and rivers) and compared the data collected with the two observational methods. All the methods were able to record all categories of user activity. In general, the Point Sample method was found to consistently obtain the greatest absolute number of activities, mainly those which were related to walkers. Point Sampling surveyed 100m either side of a static point, whereas the remote video surveyed in one direction with a clear picture up to 50m. The Walkthrough method covered a longer length of the waterway in one direction and was the best method for recording moored boats. Otherwise the methods all recorded comparable amounts of user activity. The remote video demonstrated its strengths through a time-based analysis of the user activity. This showed the temporal nature of activities at a site. During multi-hour testing of 32 hours, the diurnal nature of human users from sunrise until after sunset and the nocturnal activity of domestic animals were clearly recorded. The report discusses the results in detail and also considers the advantages and disadvantages of the methods. Finally, it recommends that future user activity surveys use a hierarchical approach to determine user activity, ie use remote video first (to characterise the activity at a site), followed by specific observer based studies to provide data on activity maxima and minima. To obtain a realistic classification of navigable, waterway user activity we recommend: a the application of long-term video studies to determine the initial time-based activity levels of users a with a minimum of three repeat visits per site. a from the PIR data, identify potential sites and specific times of day where ecological bottlenecks may exist between wildlife and users. a Deployment of observer survey teams to quantify the maximum and minimum activity of each user group at these sites and times of day a minimum of three repeat visits. R and D TECHNICAL REPORT W3-017/TR i In addition, to achieve the overall aim of assessing the effects of user activity on wildlife disturbance we also recommend: a Determination of the diversity and abundance of waterfowl and hedgerow birds (and other wildlife) at the sites and times highlighted by the user activity study. a Comparison of wildlife diversity and abundance with user activity at sites with different activity levels to measure any relationship that exists between them. a Application of the methodology used during the 1999/2000 project to directly measure wildlife activity and disturbance at the study sites. a A GIS assessment of the availability of alternative habitat at the study sites. a A predator activity survey at the study sites. R and D TECHNICAL REPORT W3-017/TR ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS All of the survey data was collected by the summer 2001 team of Pearl Chung, Russell Ireland, Suzanne Kay and Viv Owens a thank you for your effort and attention to detail. Many thanks to Caroline Tandy, Valerie Holt, Jonathon Briggs and Glenn Millar for useful discussion and input throughout the project. We thank the BW staff at Ellesmere Yard and Aston Locks, in particular Stuart Moodie, and those who were able to take time and comment on an earlier draft of this report, your efforts have improved the final product. We gratefully acknowledge the funding from British Waterways, the Environment Agency and the Inland Waterways Association. R and D TECHNICAL REPORT W3-017/TR iii CONTENTS Page Executive Summary i 1.
Publisher: Environment Agency
Subject Keywords: Wildlife; Recreational water use; Survey methods
Extent: 59
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