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The range of wildlife species has increased at Devon Wildlife Trust's (DWT) new offices at Cricklepit Mill, Exeter, since it installed a hydro electricity system.
The impact on fish is often one of the greatest concerns for hydro installations - and one of the objections that comes up when one is proposed. DWT has fitted a rotating screen in the header tank of their system which prevents anything getting through to the turbine. There is a bypass tube, which can be opened to allow fish to be safely released if they do make it into the header tank. However, in the first year of its operation, no fish has ever been spotted in the tank.
What has been spotted are otters. Their visits have increased since the hydro system was installed, and they have been caught on camera exploring the turbine, and swimming in the hydro pool - without any harm to either themselves or the system.
The range of birds that visit regularly has also increased, possibly as a result of the lower water levels downstream from the turbine. Dippers can be seen most days perching on exposed rocks. Kingfisher and Egret are also regular visitors.
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