New patrol boat for Exe Estuary

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:40 22 August 2018

SEDHREC Habitat Mitigation Officers on a new patrol boat for the Exe Estuary. Picture: Contributed

SEDHREC Habitat Mitigation Officers on a new patrol boat for the Exe Estuary. Picture: Contributed

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A new boat has been launched to protect wildlife and ensure water users stay safe in the River Exe.

SEDHREC Habitat Mitigation Officers on a new patrol boat for the Exe Estuary. Picture: ContributedSEDHREC Habitat Mitigation Officers on a new patrol boat for the Exe Estuary. Picture: Contributed

The 5.75-metre-long vessel has been funded by the South East Devon Habitat Regulations Executive Committee (SEDHREC).

The boat cost the partnership £27,000 and was paid for by money collected from developers across the three council areas of Teignbridge, East Devon and Exeter.

The patrol boat will work in partnership with the Harbour Authority and will be piloted on the estuary by SEDHREC’s habitat mitigation officers – Sama Euridge and Amelia Davies - to make sure the estuary is a safe place for everyone to enjoy.

They will give estuary users advice to help raise awareness of updated codes of conduct and the new wildlife refuges in the Exe Estuary, effective from September 15, 2018, having been approved 12 months ago.

Sama said: “We’re really looking forward to being out on the river and talking to water users about the conservation designations and protected spaces we have here.

“The Exe Estuary is an incredible place.

“We want to see everyone sharing this space safely, with respect for the wildlife that lives here and the habitat on which it depends.

“The new wildlife refuges have been designated to help people identify areas that are particularly sensitive for our overwintering and resident bird populations, so they may avoid them and let the birds roost, feed and nest in peace. We have seen declines in some of our most iconic Exe species in recent years, so hopefully these additional measures will help populations stabilise and ensure the Exe remains a wildlife haven into the future.”

Amelia added: “The estuary is hugely popular with visitors and locals alike.

“Many of the visitors won’t be aware of the new wildlife refuges, so our job is to help them understand where they are and what they mean.

“We’re asking all regular users and local groups to help us spread the word about the updated codes of conduct and the new wildlife refuges.

“The wildlife refuges are marked by yellow mark buoys denoted with a ‘WR’. If you see these while out on the water, please avoid these critical resting and feeding areas, as long as it is safe to do so.”

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