Nearly �500,000 for Suffolk reserves

TWO of Suffolk's most important nature reserves have been given a huge helping hand with vital conservation work.

Richard Cornwell

TWO of Suffolk's most important nature reserves have been given a huge helping hand with vital conservation work.

The European Union's LIFE+ Nature fund has awarded the National Trust and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds �477,000 for projects on Orford Ness and Havergate Island.

Initial work will enable water levels to be managed in coastal lagoons and marshes on the two sites.

This will provide long-term improvements to habitat conditions and offset the effects of climate change, such as changing rainfall patterns and rises in sea level.

The target is to increase the numbers of bird species of European importance that feed and breed on the sites, species such as sandwich tern, avocet, ruff, golden plover and spoonbill.

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Stuart Warrington, nature conservation adviser for the National Trust, said: “This European money will give a great boost to the work of both conservation charities, on these internationally important nature reserves.

“The effects of all this work will be closely monitored and evaluated to inform future site management plans.

“We also know that keeping everyone up to date and informed is vital, so great effort will be put into letting the world know about progress with the project, including a new website and webcams.”

Aaron Howe, south Suffolk reserves manager for the RSPB, said the grant would permit valuable habitat enhancement work on one of the RSPB's oldest nature reserves.

“This work will enhance both the habitat for the species found on the reserve and the experience offered to the visiting public,” he said.

The four-year project also includes improving lagoon islands and sluices to boost nesting opportunities and enhance the viewing opportunities from the visitor hides on Havergate.

Work on the lagoons and marshes will protect and improve the environment for rare invertebrates and flora.

Action at Orford Ness will include helping visitors understand the shingle site and to discourage irresponsible access.