Strathspey wetlands and waders initiative
Surveys in Strathspey between 2000 and 2010 showed a 42 per cent decline in one of the most important breeding wader populations in mainland Britain. We are working with local land managers on a broad range of issues facing waders.
- To provide a strategic approach to the provision of high-quality breeding wader habitat at landscape scale through targeting AECS funding applications.
- To foster collaboration between conservationists, agriculturalists and land managers which pools skills to maximise delivery for key habitats and species in Strathspey.
- To identify land management projects (additional to AECS options) of benefit to farms and breeding waders and access funding to support them in Strathspey.
- To raise awareness of the importance of the Strathspey wader population and how appropriate land management on farms can help it to survive and thrive.
- To carry out or facilitate research into the causes of wader declines in Strathspey.
- 2009 - series of workshops to establish the approach and method of the initiative, first Rural Payment (predecessor to AECS) applications submitted and successful.
- 2010 and 2011 - series of policy and advocacy initiatives with government bodies to address issues affecting the Strathspey wader population.
- 2011 - first rush cutting demonstration day on Strathspey farm and purchase of rush cutting kit for loan to Strathspey farmers (funded by the Cairngorms National Park Authority).
- 2011 - creation of a suite of SWWI advisory leaflets.
- 2012 to 2014 - roll out of farm habitat survey project with delivery of work on the ground including rush management and scrape creation.
- 2015 - repeat surveys showed the wader declines had halted, likely in part due to the efforts of local farmers and other land managers.
- 2016 to 2020 - worked with agricultural agents and land managers to implement a range of AECs applications and deliver funded projects.
- 2020 - Five-year repeat survey delayed due to Covid-19 but engagement with land managers maintained.
- The next survey was due to take place in 2020 but was delayed due to Covid-19. It will take place this spring.
- An ongoing programme of AECS applications with specialist management plans will continue.
- In addition, the initiative will continue with its rush pasture improvement programme through demonstration days and provision of rush cutting equipment. As well as funded projects to make further habitat improvements for example scrape creation and scrub removal.
- The SWWI will also continue to assist with research projects on the benefits of farm liming on soil conditions for breeding waders and the impact of predation on these birds.