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The start of any ecological work involving GCN Pond.  Hall 2011.great crested newts is to carry out a pond scoping exercise and record the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) of each of the ponds not immediately scoped out.

Ponds can be scoped out because they are dry, non-existant or because they are unsuitable due to usage such as slurry ponds (it’s worth noting that the author has recorded Bottle trapping in East Yorkshire.  Hall 2011.GCNs in slurry ponds).

The HSI is a method of calculating the suitability of a pond to support a population of great crested newts.  It is not a method of scoping out ponds.  Ponds are given a score which equates simply to how suitable a pond is and not as to how likely a pond is to support a population of GCN.  Ponds that score “low” in the HSI can, and do, still support GCNs.

A new method to help scope out ponds is also available where water samples are taken from ponds and sampled for the presence of GCN DNA.  If GCN DNA is not present then that pond can be scoped out.

The Stage 1 Pond Scope and HSI Survey can be used to inform an Ecological Survey Plan for large scale developments such as cable routes, new communication facilities such as roads and railways as well larger housing or business developments.   This is important as the GCN survey season is relatively short and large projects can require careful planning and resourcing to ensure all required surveys are carried out within this short time frame.

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