A rare dragonfly has been discovered on the River Nene following Environment Agency work to improve habitat.
The scarce chaser dragonfly (Libellula fulva) was discovered on Castor Backwater, near to the villages of Castor and Ailsworth, during a survey to assess how effective a restoration project there had been.
Chris Extence, Environment Monitoring Team Leader, said: “We are monitoring our river restoration project on Castor Backwater to see how successful it has been. We have already received good feedback from local anglers about fish using the area to spawn. Now, we have also noted the appearance of the scarce chaser dragonfly.
“This is great news and shows that the project is already helping to improve this stretch of the River Nene.”
The scare chaser dragonfly is native to the UK. It is officially recognised as being rare and the species is deemed to be of national importance.
Chris said: “We have only found this species once before on the Nene, a single specimen being found at Lilford Bridge in 2007. This new finding is of considerable importance as it shows that other parts of the river, withsuitable habitat, are capable of supporting breeding populations of this rare and very attractive dragonfly.”
The Castor Backwater restoration project was carried out by the Environment Agency with support from the Nene Park Trust. It aimed to protect and improve important wildlife and coarse fish habitat and included repairing and re-profiling the river’s banks, installing fencing and cattle-drinkers and creating two fish-refuge ponds. The ponds provide areas for fish to shelter from high flows. Newly installed gravel on the river bed has provided much needed spawning habitat for fish.
The Castor Backwater project followed a survey carried out by the Wildlife Trust in 2010. It cost £40,000 and took around five weeks to complete.
Short-term monitoring of the project is now complete, but the Environment Agency intends to revisit the site later this year to check on progress.