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Monday, 4 November, 2002, 09:29 GMT
New marsh will boost wildlife
Abbotts Hall Farm, Essex
The flooded area will be turned into saltmarsh
More than 200 acres of Essex farmland is being flooded as part of a project to create a new saltmarsh habitat for wildlife.

Five breaches have been made in the sea wall at Abbotts Hall Farm, on the Blackwater Estuary near Colchester, to allow the tide through.

The project - which will cost 400,000 over 10 years - is part of a nationwide scheme to restore the UK's declining coastal wetlands.

John Hall, of the Essex Wildlife Trust, said: "These saltmarshes are like the tropical rainforests of the South East - they're one of our last real wilderness areas."

Sea defences

Nature conservation minister Elliot Morley, environmentalists, farmers, oystermen and local residents are among those who have been invited to watch the tide flood the area on Monday morning.

The flooded land will gradually regenerate as natural saltmarsh and lagoons, which are important wildlife habitats.

Birds such as Brent geese, wigeon and lapwing will thrive in the areas, while plants like Marsh samphire and sea lavender are also found.

Saltmarshes are also regarded as a form of natural, sustainable sea defence.

About 500 acres of saltmarsh in the south of England is lost each year due to rising sea levels.


Click here to go to Essex
See also:

11 Oct 02 | Science/Nature
17 Jun 02 | England
31 Jul 01 | Science/Nature
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