Future in Action

Future in Action

Small Blue Recovery Project Update – CEMEX Southam Quarry

From the brink of disaster an important partnership between CEMEX and Butterfly Conservation continues to help rare butterflies thrive in Warwickshire. In 2008 the Small Blue Butterfly was heading for a regional extinction being confined to just 3 sites all in the Southam area. All 3 remaining sites were under serious threats. This partnership was ambitious, it set out not only to save the existing colonies but to also secure the long term future of the butterfly by restoring and creating habitat for many more colonies,

small blue butterfly-resized

The picture above shows the butterfly amphitheatre created at Rugby Cement works.

The catalyst for the species recovery was CEMEX Southam quarry, where a butterfly colony still existed on an old spoil heap. The Environment Agency had asked for this spoil heap to be capped and after careful negotiation this capping was staggered and carried out over 3 years. This resulted in a very large colony of Small Blue which had the capacity to colonise other nearby areas.

The recent results have just shown that the butterfly has now successfully colonised 9 habitat patches throughout the area thanks to CEMEX’s habitat restoration at Southam Quarry. Thanks to work in other areas a further 9 habitat patches have now also been colonised.

The partnership between Butterfly Conservation and CEMEX is still ambitious. The plan now is to create a further network of colonies in the Rugby area centred around the Rugby Cement works and former site Malpass Quarry. Already 6 further sites have been restored and seeded with the Small Blues only caterpillar foodplant Kidney Vetch. It just proves that successful partnerships can not only save rare species but with ambition, secure their long term future as well.