BARTON ON HUMBER WILDFOWLERS CLUB will turn 16 acres of arable farmland into a thriving wetland habitat after securing a £100,000 loan from The Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT).
The club, formed in 1967, will purchase 15.82 acres of land on the Humber Estuary after securing the financial support from the WHCT, the grant-giving arm of the Wildlife Habitat Trust (WHT) set up by BASC.
After a site visit from the Humber Nature Partnership (HNP), the open farmland was identified as ideal habitat for high tide wader roosting.
Tim Russell, WHT secretary and director of conservation at BASC said: “The Humber Estuary is an important site for wildlife, some of which is facing pressure from development and natural processes.
“Barton on Humber Wildfowlers understand the value of providing habitat adjacent to the estuary to benefit wildlife.
“The club has shown their willingness to build strong partnerships by working with the Humber Nature Partnership and local wildlife recorders. Together they will transform this bare, arable land into an important site for wildlife, whilst recording the species that start to use it.”
Before starting work, the club will commission an ecological survey and work with the HNP on a management plan to increase wildlife. It is likely the site will be managed as open grassland with scrapes, making it particularly attractive to waders.
The estuary is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA), and a Ramsar Site.
The estuary is also an important industrial area and trade gateway, with an average of 40,000 ship movements per year, which puts pressure on wildlife. Coastal squeeze is adding to difficulties faced by wildlife.
Roy Hodsdon, secretary of Barton on Humber Wildfowlers Club, said: “This is an exciting project which will show how arable land can be changed into an attractive wetland habitat suitable for a wide variety of wildlife.
“Our members believe this is a wonderful opportunity for such a small club to be the first BASC-affiliated club in the area to have the chance to work with the Humber Nature Partnership and BASC on creating this habitat conservation area.”
Darren Clarke, manager of the Humber Nature Partnership, said: “HNP works with a range of organisations including government agencies, wildlife charities and private businesses around the Humber to help protect and enhance the estuary’s internationally important wildlife interests.
“We are pleased the club has secured the necessary funds to purchase this land. Schemes such as this provide vital additional habitat for a variety of wildlife and the club are to be applauded for their efforts in securing the funding.
“Part of the land already managed by the club is recognised as a grassland and marsh Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, meaning that it is a wildlife site of national importance.
“The club’s intention to engage with the local ecological recording community to survey and monitor the site’s development will help to ensure the site’s management is effective and that its importance for wildlife is properly recognised. HNP looks forward to hearing more about the site as it develops.”
For further information on the WHT and WHCT please visit: http://www.wht.org.uk/