It is clear wildlife, and people, will increasingly suffer from extreme weather such as flooding in winter and droughts in hotter, drier summers. Long-term changes in the UK’s climate put wildlife under stress, altering the habitats they live in and the food they rely on. These changes will result in native wildlife species disappearing if the countryside, particularly wetlands, aren’t managed to combat climate change.
The Wildlife Trusts’ partnership projects, through Water for Wildlife, restore and recreate large areas, promoting natural processes such as grazing, flood storage and peat generation, and have a positive impact on local land and water management. Wetlands help protect us against flooding, encourage long-term water storage underground, help with reducing soil erosion, cleaning up pollution and storage of carbon dioxide. All this provides a major benefit in dealing with the impacts of climate change and reducing the causes.
The Wildlife Trusts aim to raise awareness of the beautiful and sensitive network of rivers and wetlands - home to an array of wildlife such as the otter, water vole and kingfisher - by highlighting current and completed large scale projects throughout the UK. The Wildlife Trusts work particularly closely with local water industries and the Environment Agency to take care of these rich habitats and the species they support.
Chris Rostron, water for wildlife manager at The Wildlife Trusts: "The British Isles still have some of the finest examples of wetland habitats in Europe. There are also major opportunities for restoring damaged rivers and wetlands. We need to take care of these rich habitats and the species they support. They benefit us all. Everyone can play a part, enjoy and appreciate experiencing wetlands by becoming involved in conservation; through volunteering, becoming a member of The Wildlife Trusts or simply attending local events."
World Wetlands Day - Friday 2 February (2007) - is a time to discover the importance of the UK’s wet and wild places - with The Wildlife Trusts and the Water for Wildlife Partnership.
The Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust is currently working on a large-scale, upland catchment management project. This £750,000 project has involved restoring upland bogs, removing a coniferous plantation and replacing it with broadleaves, where appropriate and working with farmers to make their land management better for healthy rivers, wetlands and streams. Currently 120 ha of riverside habitat restoration have been completed.
The Wetlands for Wildlife Project at Pett Levels and Rye, is working to improve land-use and wetland management through strategic advice to landowners, and local community involvement. This 12 square mile area in East Sussex is one of the few remaining strongholds for the water vole in Sussex and many other rare and protected species. The project aims to raise awareness of the intrinsic value of wetlands, not just for wildlife but for drinking water, flood storage and other essential services people rely on. / South East England
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Idle Valley project sees the Environment Agency, Natural England, Notts County Council, Bassetlaw District Council, Tarmac and North Notts College all partnering to turn a 420ha gravel pit complex into grassland, shallow water lagoons with some deep water. / East Midlands
East Anglia Edit
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s Baston and Thurlby Fenland recreation project proposes to re-create up to 800 hectares of wetland, grassland and woodland on the peaty ground close to Baston and Thurlby Fen Nature Reserves. Public access is available in the project area at Thurlby Fen and Baston Fen nature reserves. / East Midlands
North East and Yorkshire Edit
During the Hull Headwaters Project baseline water vole, otter and mink surveys of the tributaries and ditches, flowing into the Humber estuary, have been carried out. The project is also advising farmers and landowners in the area on how they can best manage their river banks and ditches to benefit wildlife, including water voles. / Yorkshire and the Humber
North West Edit
"Lancashire Wildlife Trust has now completed the purchase of Brockholes Wetland Nature Reserve, a former gravel extraction site extending over 110 hectares. / North West England
Bucks, Berks and Oxon Wildlife Trust started a large scale wetland restoration project in the Upper River Ray area in 2002. The project has helped farmers and landowners to recreate or restore species-rich floodplain hay meadows, wet pastures, ponds, and river and riparian habitats. / South East England
South West Edit
As part of the Natural Networks Project, Devon Wildlife Trust (working in partnership with others) aims to protect and enhance the Culm Natural Area, targeting the biodiversity rich Culm Grassland (Rhos Pasture).This project uses the results of scientific studies into Culm restoration, location of flooding risk and the south west nature map to identify priority areas for habitat restoration/creation. It will also mitigate climate change by creating a network of better functioning wetland habitats, increasing their ability to moderate water flow. / South West England
Ideas Bank - Climate change - Environmental wellbeing - Social wellbeing - Economic wellbeing - Transport and Planning - Local sustainability - Community involvement - Global connections - Personal options - Ideas Bank by place - Village pump
- The Wildlife Trusts press release, 15th January, 2007