Rare wetland habitat in Guernsey is restored

Work at the Colin Best Nature Reserve in Guernsey
Image caption Mr Hooper said with the removal of the stone the saltmarch would recover naturally

Work has started at Guernsey's Colin Best Nature Reserve to reintroduce a rare wetland habitat.

Thousands of tonnes of stone was dumped in the area in the 1980s, which destroyed an area of saltmarsh.

The Public Services Department has undertaken the work as part of efforts to offset the impact of the £80m airport refurbishment project.

The reserve sits within the 426-hectare area at L'Eree that was granted protection as a Ramsar site in 2006.

Public Services Minister Bernard Flouquet said the environmental impact of the works had been taken very seriously and it was working with Environment Guernsey to identify suitable schemes to offset these.

Jamie Hooper, managing director of Environment Guernsey, said the stone had been removed from the site and although saltmarsh was "not particularly species-rich", it was rare and only Pulias Pond and Vale Pond offered similar habitat locally.

Image caption There are only two other areas of the island that offer a similar habitat for wildlife

He said: "This is an area of high ecological importance... we fully expect the saltmarsh to recover naturally by itself and enhance the reserve as a whole."

More than 150 species of birds and 200 species of seaweed have been recorded at the Ramsar site, which includes marshes, reed beds and the intertidal area.

The department said it was also considering other offsetting projects, including the creation of new hedgerows along the northern perimeter of the airport and planting schemes on various other States-owned properties.

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