WWT’s Flourishing Floodplains project has been awarded a £867,600 grant from the Government’s £40 million second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, a multi-million pound boost for green jobs and nature recovery.
The project will restore threatened wetland habitats across a 6,400ha landscape in the Severn & Avon Vales, helping to increase biodiversity, improve soil and water quality, and combat climate change. It will also support the recovery of two rapidly declining species - the Eurasian curlew and European eel - by promoting a transition to wildlife-friendly farming and building the evidence to inform future action.
By working with farmers and landowners to manage the newly restored wetland habitats, and connecting local people with the floodplain landscape through volunteering and citizen science, the project will create a network of “floodplain champions” with the knowledge and skills to continue this work in future.
The project will be delivered in partnership with Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group South West and the Floodplain Meadows Partnership led by the Open University.
Ninety nature projects across England have been awarded grants from £68,100 to £1,950,000 to create and retain over 1,000 green jobs, backed by the Government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
WWT’s Head of UK Programmes, Rob Shore, said:
We are delighted to have been awarded this generous grant for our work to preserve and celebrate the rich natural heritage of the Severn & Avon Vales, where WWT was founded 75 years ago.
Through our partnership, we will restore a wetland landscape that brings multiple benefits, from wildlife recovery to flood protection and carbon storage. We will also develop local skills in regenerative farming and floodplain restoration, and use two much-loved species as flagships to inspire local action for conservation, helping to secure the future of this unique landscape for generations to come.
FWAG South West’s Senior Farm Environment Adviser, Sarah Wells, said:
Throughout the last three years FWAG has been working with farmers, WWT, Floodplain Meadows Partnership and others to build knowledge and understanding around what makes the Severn Vale an important place for nature and how we can best work with and support those farming in the area to achieve benefits for the environment at a landscape scale. Flourishing Floodplains will build on this work by enabling further action on the ground and outcomes for species and habitat conservation.
The Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm's-Length Bodies. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.
A full list of awards is available to view on The National Lottery Heritage Fund website.