The project was aimed at turning large areas of north Devon into ‘Working Wetlands’ that would enable both wildlife and local people to flourish. Culm grasslands are waterlogged habitats with diverse and abundant wildlife that are home to numerous endangered species. They also provide vital ecosystem services. The 20th century saw 95 per cent of this habitat disappear through neglect and agricultural improvement. Remaining pockets were small and fragmented, exacerbating impacts on species such as the marsh fritillary that need unbroken tracts of species-rich grassland.
Biffa Award funding has allowed the Trust to restore, re-create and reconnect Culm grassland habitat through working with landowners to protect water quality and restore important wildlife habitats.
Now restored species-rich wet grasslands, often marginal to a working farm, act as natural filters to capture soil particles and nutrients from fertilisers before they reach rivers and reservoirs, thereby acting as effective buffers between agricultural practice and the water course.
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