Cash boost for Budleigh Salterton nature reserve

A nature reserve near Budleigh Salterton has been given a cash boost in a bid to improve the habitat of globally-threatened southern damselflies.

A nature reserve near Budleigh Salterton has been given a cash boost in a bid to improve the habitat of southern damselflies.

The Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) has been awarded �5,408 by the Rock Environmental Treatment Scheme (RockETS) for vital conservation work at the Venn Ottery nature reserve.

Last summer hundreds of globally-threatened southern damselflies were released into the nature reserve in a bid to boost dwindling numbers.

Ian Chadwick from Devon Wildlife Trust, who manages the site, said: “This is a nervy year for us following the release of 500 damselflies which were translocated from a heathland site in Dorset.

“We won’t know fully until next summer whether they have bred successfully as the larvae take two years to mature.

“We hope that the work this winter will give them more of a fighting chance as water levels have been pretty low following the dry summer.

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“It might seem like a costly business just to save a few damselflies, but this new colony will be a vital boost for the UK population which has seen a 30 per cent decline in the past forty years and adds to the handful of sites in Devon which provide a home to this rare and beautiful insect.”

The work will enhance the wetland habitats of the reserve where the rare southern damselflies prefer to breed.

Areas of scrub woodland will be removed, water flow monitored and vegetation control carried out.

The fund, handed out by Devon County Council, comes from Defra’s aggregates sustainability levy and aims to compensate for the impacts of quarrying.

Local quarry firm Bardon Aggregates is set to re-commence quarrying their site close to Venn Ottery Hill and has agreed to work closely with DWT to minimise any impact.

Work done prior to the release of the damselflies was carried out with the support of the East Devon AONB and Pennon Environmental Fund.

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