NEW funding could help bring back rare wildlife from the brink of extinction in Warwickshrie.
Several of the county’s most threatened species will benefit thanks to almost £500,000 from Natural England’s ‘Species Recovery Programme’.
Warwickshire Wildlife Trust has secured £485,869 from the programme to support targeted action for some of the nation’s rarest species, between now and March 2025.
Bittern, water vole, willow tit and white-clawed crayfish will all benefit from projects designed to help their local populations flourish.
The trust will be helping water voles by creating new wetland margin habitat along canals and restoring hedgerows with native plants, white-clawed crayfish by creating two new locations where they can thrive without the impact of non-native signal crayfish, and willow tits by installing numerous dead log nesting sites, and fitting trackers to fledglings to better understand where they go when they leave the nest.
Bittern will be helped by improving 1.5 hectares of reedbed habitat at Brandon Marsh Site of Special Scientific Interest, creating deeper pools where they can hunt and breed.
As part of the project, over 20km of watercourses will be improved for nature, benefiting the four target species and a range of others.
And as well as fitting GPS trackers to a number of willow tits, the trust and Coventry City Council will be working with the University of Warwick, who will lead on using pioneering eDNA techniques to gather data on where white-clawed crayfish and water voles live.
Collected data will help to inform the trust and partners on which habitats are most important for the two species.
This project forms part of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s wider 2030 strategy where it is looking to make more space for nature and enable more people to take action for wildlife.
The trust is looking to support nature’s recovery by ensuring that 30 per cent of land in Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull supports nature by 2030. The new funding will help ensure that some of Warwickshire’s rarest species will recover from the edge of extinction.
WWT spokesperson Ian Jelley said: “This funding is a huge boost to some of our most threatened species here in Warwickshire. Our native wildlife is facing real challenges and locally water vole, bittern, white-clawed crayfish and willow tits are hanging on by a thread.
“We’ll be working with Natural England, Coventry City Council, Canal & River Trust, the University of Warwick and other partners to take targeted action to give these species a lifeline. New technology like eDNA water sampling and GPS tracking of birds can really help develop our understanding of where these species are and how they move around.
“We’ll use that knowledge to help target the action taken by our dedicated volunteers and experienced staff to make a real difference to these species.”