Ringed plover charadrius hiaticula, adult amongst razorshells. Side view. Titchwell beach, Norfolk

Our work for water and wetland birds

We help wetland birds by making sure they have the right conditions of water available to them.

Our work for water and wetland birds

For wetland birds to thrive, there needs to be water of the right quality and quantity in the right place at the right time.

In spring, breeding wading birds depend on the insect-rich shallow pools and damp soils in coastal and valley bottom grasslands to feed their chicks. Meanwhile bitterns need clean, clear water with an abundance of small fish, set within a sheltering fringe of reeds.

We work to provide these needs. To do this we: 

  • Campaign to protect our most important remaining wetlands from development, pollution, abstraction and land drainage.
  • Invest in research to understand the needs of wetland birds and habitats.
  • Buy and manage nature reserves. We currently manage wetland habitats which are home to much of our remaining wetland wildlife.
  • Provide advice to farmers on how they can manage their land to protect water and provide habitats for wildlife.
  • Work with water companies and flood engineers to develop innovative ways of managing water, such as improving water quality by creating reedbeds, or storing flood waters in wetlands.
  • Persuade government and its agencies to put policies in place which work for people and wetlands. Examples include new rules for water efficient buildings, or funding for floodplain restoration programmes to tackle flooding.

As well as working in the UK, we also help to shape legislation and policy in Europe. Many important environmental laws (such as the Water Framework Directive) are made in Europe and then translated into national laws and polices by UK governments and their agencies.