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Boost for Morecambe Bay conservation project
5:02pm Thursday 13th October 2011 in Morecambe news
A PROJECT to restore and create a network of wildlife rich wetlands in Morecambe Bay and adjacent river valleys has been stepped up by a national charity.
The RSPB is boosting its UK-wide landscape conservation programme Futurescapes following a £4 million funding injection.
Seven dedicated staff have been appointed with the cash and one of the project officers has been tasked with supporting the delivery of the RSPB’s Morecambe Bay Futurescape.
It is hoped that populations of bittern, water vole, osprey, dragonfly and wading birds will benefit from improved landscapes on the coastal plain surrounding Morecambe Bay.
The project officer will also work to improve habitats for birds in the Duddon, Leven, Kent, Keer, Lune and Wyre river valleys.
Farmers, landowners, local authorities, businesses and the community are all working together within each of the country’s seven Futurescape projects.
It is a change of direction for the RSPB, which is focusing on a wider, landscape approach to bird protection, rather than concentrating on improving threatened species solely on nature reserves such as Leighton Moss in Silverdale.
“Conservation is changing and it is really exciting to be there at the forefront of this new way of protecting nature,” said Amanda Miller, RSPB Conservation Manager for Northern England. “We can no longer rely on managing reserves for wildlife – we need to ensure that the surrounding landscape is delivering as well.
“Unfortunately bitterns and watervoles don’t read maps, so merely assigning them a reserve like RSPB Leighton Moss just isn’t going to work. As the pressure on our land increases it is clear that we need to create robust an ecological network that delivers for wildlife right across Morecambe Bay.”
Half of the £4million of new funding for the project has come from the EU Life Programme – the EU's fund for supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout Europe.