Wind Pumps

Dearne Valley Wetland Habitat Creation

The Brief

RSPB Old Moor and Edderthorpe Flash Reserve, integral parts of the Dearne Valley Reserve, sought to enhance wetland habitats for diverse bird species. The challenge was to find an environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution to abstract water from the river Dearne, aiding the creation and maintenance of wetland ecosystems. The project aimed to increase suitable breeding and feeding areas for wader populations, particularly during the summer and autumn seasons.

The Solution

Windmill Pump Installation: Aquatic Control Engineering (ACE) installed two windmill pumps, strategically positioned in RSPB Edderthorpe Flash and RSPB Old Moor. These pumps harnessed the power of wind for water abstraction, contributing to the creation and sustenance of wetland habitats within the Dearne Valley Reserve.

  • Edderthorpe Flash Pump: This pump facilitated the seasonal pumping of water off-site during the summer and back to the river in the autumn. The purpose was to enhance wet grassland habitat, providing an optimal environment for breeding wader populations and supporting passage for wader birds to feed.
  • Old Moor Reservoir Pump: Positioned at RSPB Old Moor, this pump abstracted water from the river into a holding reservoir. The reservoir served as a crucial water source for maintaining breeding water levels suitable for Bittern, a bird species with specific habitat requirements. Additionally, the reservoir distributed water to various habitats within the reserve, including wet grasslands, mere, wader scrape, and the Wath Ings Fen area.

Environmental Considerations: The selection of windmill pumps over electric-powered alternatives was driven by environmental factors. These pumps aligned with RSPB’s green energy targets, contributing to sustainability efforts. Moreover, windmill pumps proved more cost-effective to operate and maintain, especially in remote locations, offering an economical and eco-friendly solution. The installation of windmill pumps added a distinctive feature for footpath wanderers and educational tours, enhancing the reserve’s visitor experience.

The Result

Enhanced Wetland Habitats: The implementation of windmill pumps successfully achieved the project’s goal of enhancing wetland habitats at RSPB Old Moor and Edderthorpe Flash Reserve. The strategic abstraction and distribution of water contributed to the creation of diverse ecosystems, fostering optimal conditions for breeding wader populations, and supporting Bittern habitat requirements.

Adherence to Green Energy Targets: The windmill pumps played a significant role in supporting RSPB’s green energy targets. By harnessing wind power for water abstraction, the project showcased a commitment to sustainable practices and reduced environmental impact.



Cost-Effective and Eco-Friendly Solution

ACE’s installation of windmill pumps demonstrated the feasibility of cost-effective and eco-friendly solutions for water abstraction in wildlife reserves. The decision to opt for wind power not only aligned with environmental goals but also proved economical in terms of operation and maintenance.


Educational and Recreational Value

The addition of windmill pumps provided an engaging feature for visitors, enhancing the educational and recreational value of the reserves. These installations served as tangible examples of sustainable water management practices, contributing to the broader conservation and environmental education initiatives.


Continued Collaboration

ACE expressed gratitude to RSPB for the opportunity to contribute to the Dearne Valley Reserve project. The successful installation of wind pumps laid the foundation for continued collaboration with RSPB habitats and reserves, reinforcing the commitment to preserving and enhancing natural environments for wildlife.

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