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18 May 2007
Image: Chris Gomersall
Our Mid Yare reserves (Strumpshaw Fen, Surlingham and Rockland, and Buckenham and Cantley) in the Norfolk Broads protect a mosaic of wetland habitats that is home to bitterns and other important species.
The RSPB is working to enhance these habitats, using the improving water quality in the River Yare to restore their natural ecology. In the long term, we may need to tackle habitat change caused by rising sea levels.
We are restoring our reedbed and fen for breeding bitterns, marsh harriers, bearded tits, swallowtail butterflies and key plant species. Work includes removing scrub and invasive plants, summer mowing and grazing, and seasonal flooding. We are also managing our fen meadow for its flora and breeding snipe by maintaining water levels, clearing rushes, grazing and mowing, and trampling with livestock to create boggy ground. We plan to restore more of this habitat.
We are managing our wet grassland for the benefit of wintering waterfowl and breeding waders, using grazing and topping to create suitable sward heights. We also cut back encroaching rushes and scrub, and control ditch water levels, while retaining boggy areas and pools. We keep livestock away from breeding waders, and control predators where necessary.
We are managing our wet woodland for key breeding birds, including Cetti's warblers, willow tits and bullfinches. Our intervention here is minimal, except to control alien plants, protect standing dead wood and keep water levels high enough from April to July.
We are managing our pools, ponds and ditches for the benefit of aquatic flora, wildfowl, otters, water voles and bitterns. Work includes maintaining ditch edges, improving water quality, removing vegetation from open pools and increasing the number of fish.
We are enhancing facilities at Strumpshaw, our key visitor site, to cater for 15 - 20,000 visitors annually, while providing public footpaths elsewhere. We are working to convey our conservation messages and make more direct contact with visitors, especially families and young people. Talks, demonstration and events all help us to promote environmental education.
Meanwhile we are raising our local media profile, developing our volunteer programme, and building the support of all key stakeholders and conservation bodies.
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