Somerset Wildlife Trust has launched an urgent county-wide appeal to raise £100,000 to transform former industrial sites into nature reserves on an iconic Somerset landscape.
The county’s leading environmental charity is urging local people to support an ambitious project to restore the equivalent of 26 football pitches of former peat diggings to wildlife havens.
The once wildlife-rich farmlands of the Somerset Levels have declined drastically over the last 65 years. Industrial scale peat extraction and intensive farming has drained water from these internationally important wetlands leaving wildlife fighting for survival.
David Leach, Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Brue Valley Living Landscape Manager, said: “Wildlife is under threat from a devastating loss of wetland habitat. Local conservation efforts have slowed the decline of native wildlife but to really make a difference we need to create new wetland habitat.
“Just £10 could help secure the future of some of our most vulnerable wildlife on this iconic Somerset landscape. We hope people across the county will show their support for this ambitious and vital project.”
The Levels are home to some of Somerset’s most rare and threatened wildlife including scarce wetland birds such as Hobby and Kingfisher; threatened Otters and Dragonflies; and plants including the rare Marsh Orchid and precious Yellow Flag Iris.
Donations will support the local charity’s wetland habitat restoration work including:
* Creation of reed beds and traditional rhynes
* Work to eradicate alien species that blanket the landscape quashing native plants
* Stemming the flow of water so our wetland nature reserves don’t dry out
* Smoothing out the bath-tub shaped holes left by peat extraction
* Improving access so local people can enjoy Somerset’s native wildlife
Help Save the Somerset Levels and donate online at www.somersetwildlife.org/savethelevels