Wetland wildlife goes Back to the Future
Last modified: 30 August 2012
Wildlife at RSPB Blacktoft Sands and around the Humberhead Levels is being given a boost through a new £139,000 project aimed at restoring and sustaining wetlands in the area.
Back to the Future is a five-year project that will restore wetlands to their former glory and manage them sustainably for wildlife through modern conservation techniques.
Over the past few centuries, large areas of the Humberhead Levels’ important wetlands have been lost due to drainage schemes, which have had a devastating effect on wildlife.
Pete Short, the RSPB’s Humber Sites Manager, said: “We urgently need to plan ahead and learn how to look after bigger and better wetlands more cost effectively if we are going to save our much-loved local wildlife. This project for us at Blacktoft will be where the future starts.”
Back to the Future has all been made possible by a fantastic £139,000 award from WREN’s Biodiversity Action Fund. WREN is a not-for-profit business that awards grants generated by landfill tax from sites owned by FCC Environment, to community, environmental and heritage projects countrywide.
Project work will include using the reserve’s beautiful Konik ponies to graze the wetland and also employing a state-of-the art reed cutting machine called the Softrak that will help collect vegetation for making briquettes, which can be used as a low carbon fuel.
“There’s lots more exciting work planned that will help maintain and create new local wetlands for amazing wildlife such as bitterns, toads, water voles and grass snakes, all of which have suffered massive declines in their populations over the last fifty years.”
Back to the Future forms part of the RSPB’s Humberhead Levels Futurescape, a landscape-scale project in which we are working with the Humberhead Levels Partnership and Humberhead Levels Nature Improvement Area (NIA) Partnership to enhance, expand and link up wetland sites in the area. This NIA partnership is providing an additional grant of £60,000 to support the RSPB’s efforts in the development of locally produced reed-based biomass energy.
Peter Cox, managing director of WREN, said: “WREN and FCC Environment are committed to supporting projects which will help the UK meet government targets to improve and increase biodiversity. We’re delighted that organisations like the RSPB continue to apply for funding for work which will have an impact on these targets.”
For more information about RSPB Blacktoft Sands, visit www.rspb.org.uk/blacktoftsands
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