Second appeal launches to HELP give Somerset’s coastal HABITATS AND wildlife a secure future
Vital coastal survey cannot be completed without further public support
Monday 10th, 2018 - Somerset Wildlife Trust is today launching a second round of its Somerset’s Brilliant Coast Appeal to ensure that the county’s first ever coastal survey, which was started in 2016, can be completed by Spring. Funds raised through the first appeal were not enough, so it is now appealing to the public and its supporters to help once more as it endeavors to provide the powerful evidence needed to support better decision making for Somerset’s coast - a hugely undervalued asset in the county that is under increasing threat.
Little is known about our coastal wildlife and this, alongside increasing development pressures - the need for reinforced coastal flood defenses, tidal and nuclear energy generation and the conversion of coastal habitats for development to name just a few - and low public awareness could lead to really poor decision-making for its future. Ensuring that we are able to get a full picture of what is there through the intertidal survey is vital if we are to see a thriving coast in the future and design conservation programmes which support that vision.
Michele Bowe, Director of Conservation explains: “It’s easy for many people to forget we have a coast, but those that know it well, know that there are some incredible places for people to enjoy, which provide secure homes for a whole variety of stunning wildlife to see – as well as some pretty awe inspiring views. Finishing the survey is an important step in empowering local land owners, authorities and developers to make better decisions about what happens to these special and ecologically important places in the future. We know the original appeal target was ambitious, but we really hope that the enthusiasm and interest we have experienced so far will also encourage people to donate generously again so we can complete the project.”
“The species’ data collected will form part of a national data set and Somerset’s first ever map of coastal habitats – what we call an ‘ecological map’ –which is a vital tool for us to ensure that wildlife can travel freely to feed and breed and expand their populations across a wider area. This is something we currently do for our terrestrial landscapes but is just as important for our coastal areas also. This, teamed with the engagement programme we have been able to start with the support from the Community Impact Mitigation Fund (negotiated with EDF Energy as part of a wider mitigation package for the site preparation works at Hinkley Point in West Somerset) means that we can really have an impact in the longer term. It’s an exciting time for us. ”
For more information and to make a donation please visit Somerset Wildlife Trust’s website: http://www.somersetwildlife.org/coastappeal telephoning 01823 652429. Thank you.
Did you Know?
· Coastal and marine ecosystems play a particularly valuable role in the capture and storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide, CO2, and so can help mitigate climate change. Bridgwater Bay, with its extensive mudflats salt marshes, has been identified as one of the key areas within the Severn Estuary for storing carbon.
· The Severn Estuary is also a vast fish nursery. Ten species of fish that are of economic importance use these waters at different times in their lifecycle, either for breeding or feeding and in total, 110 fish species have been recorded there – the highest of any estuary in the UK. Our sea is also vital in providing breeding and nursery grounds for Atlantic salmon and habitat for European Eel which means our sea is of international importance.
· There are three major estuaries used by wintering waders and wildfowl in the south west; Hayle Estuary in Cornwall houses up to 18,000 wintering birds, the Exe Estuary up to 25,000, but the Severn Estuary, which is the largest example of a coastal plain estuary in the UK, blows all numbers out of the water, playing host to up to 100,000 wintering birds. No surprise therefore that it is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EU Habitats Directive, a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Birds Directive and as a Ramsar site under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
For interviews and further information please contact:
Kirby Everett on 01823 652 413 /
Lisa Whaley on 01823 652 438 /
Notes to editors:
Supported by our members, Somerset Wildlife Trust has been protecting vulnerable wildlife and preserving wild places for over 50 years. We manage over 1,700 hectares of nature reserves, provide wildlife-friendly land management advice, campaign and educate to make sure Somerset remains one of the most wildlife-rich places in the UK. Our vision for the county is ‘an environment rich in wildlife for everyone.’ The Trust is one of 47 in the UK – together they make up the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT) www.somersetwildlife.org