Friday, August 31, 2007

SAC the Dee

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has made a bid for special conservation status for three estuaries.
The estuaries - the Dee, Humber and Severn - have been earmarked by the government as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protect vulnerable wildlife and habitats.
Defra has written to the European Commission to seek SAC status for the three candidate sites, to add to the UK's 611 SACs covering just over two and a half million hectares. This is part of a long-running process of designation of UK conservation areas under the EU Habitats Directive.
The Dee Estuary is the sixth largest estuary in the UK. It contains extensive areas of salt marsh, much of which is ungrazed. On low spring tides, over ninety percent of the estuary dries out, exposing the fifth largest extent of mudflats and sand flats of any estuary in the UK, containing many invertebrates, including worms, shellfish (e.g. cockles) and shrimp-like amphipods. These provide a rich source of food for birds and fish. The estuary also provides habitat for migratory fish species, which spend their lives in the sea and spawn in the River Dee. The site also includes areas of a once extensive dune system along the north east coast of Wales (Talacre). The dune areas support a rich variety of plants, including the rare petalwort. The sandstone cliffs of the Hilbre Islands support much sea cliff vegetation.

Picture is the work of Thelma Sykes, a local artist, for whom the Dee provides a huge amount of inspiration and influence. See her work at: http://www.swla.co.uk/SWLAmembers/sykest/SykesT.htm

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