Feckenham Wylde Moor: Credit Paul Meers
Worcestershire has lost large areas of wetland due to drainage, over-abstraction of groundwater and modification of our rivers. We are working with partners to protect what remains and create new areas for the future.
What is a wetland?
‘Wetland’ is the collective word for a range of water-dependent habitats from reedbed to open water; bog to mud; salt marsh to wet grassland and wet woodland to swamp. They usually have standing water for at least part of the year.
Why are wetlands important?
Wetlands capture rainwater and release it slowly. This allows groundwater systems to recharge and stabilise water flows, reducing both drought and flood risks. Increased and often intensive drainage of land means that water rushes straight off it and into rivers, causing them to flood more heavily and frequently.
Wetlands can change rapidly according to how much water they receive. This means the number and variety of species that inhabit them can also change quickly; making them exciting places to visit. They support a rich biodiversity including everything from fish to damselflies and otters to birds.
However, with the loss of floodplain meadows has come dramatic reductions in wildlife including populations of birds like snipe, curlew and lapwing.Figures from the 2011 Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) indicate that between 2010-2011 lapwing declined by 18%, culew by 13% and snipe by 40%.
Wetlands are not only great for supporting a range of existing wildlife; they’re also essential for helping wildlife adapt to future climate change. By ensuring the existence of a network of wetlands, we can help wildlife move through the countryside as changes occur.
What can we do for wetlands?
Populations of species such as otter, water vole, great crested newt and redshank have had their habitats destroyed, reduced in size and disconnected. Through our reserves, new legislation and funding and greater recognition from agri-environment schemes we are working to reconnect habitats.
For a taste of some of Worcestershire's best wetlands why not get out and about and visit some of our wetland nature reserves such as Upton Warren, Ipsley Alders, Feckenham Wylde Moor, and Broadway Gravel Pit?
You might also be interested in some of the other wetland projects we're involved in. For more information click on the links below.