As part of the internship at Wetland Link International (WLI) at WWT Slimbridge, together with Kane Brides, Monitoring Assistant and Russell Frew, student in practice, I had the opportunity to visit the latest WWT centre open to the public: Steart Marshes, located in Somerset, UK.
Steart is a rural site on the south west coast of England, which was created to provide protection against floods, be a reservoir of wildlife and generate spaces for adaptation to climate change. It is characterized as a place with salt marshes and freshwater wetlands that buffer the rise of sea level, and provide habitat for a rich mix of wetland wildlife including otters, egrets, owls waders and wildfowl. The saltmarsh is farmed for specialist saltmarsh lamb and beef, its creeks are a nursery for the fry of important fish stocks, and it is absorbing tonnes of climate-polluting carbon as it matures: a clear example of ecosystem service.
During the visit we had the opportunity to meet the Steart team who hosted us and told us about the benefits of the site. We also, took a tour the facilities that exist in the place, which has different routes, with well-equipped wildlife observation areas, and information about the diversity of birds that can be seen in the meadows and wetlands of the sector.
This is a landscape of wetlands for the future that helps to adapt to climate change. A big thanks to the Steart team that hosted us and showed us the characteristics of this unique place.