Highland Seashore Project launched

A new Seashore Wildlife Project was launched on Saturday (23 February) at the Highland Biodiversity Groups Networking Meeting in the Netley Centre, Inverness.

Highland Biodiversity Partnership Chairman, Councillor George Farlow, said: “We have a fantastic, long and varied coastline in Highland.  Thousands of people come here every year to enjoy our beaches and cliff-top scenery, watch seabirds nesting and perhaps catch a glimpse of a passing whale or dolphin.  However there is a lot that we still don’t know about out seashore wildlife.  This Project will help residents and visitors to the Highlands find out more about the plants and animals that live in and around our coasts."

He continued: “It is fitting that we are launching this Project at the start of this ‘Year of Natural Scotland’, which aims to help our people and our visitors celebrate our outstanding natural beauty, landscapes, wildlife and biodiversity.  It will, we hope, engage and enthuse different audiences – young and old, locals and visitors, about coastal biodiversity through training events, roadshows and festivals, making links with our coastal traditions, music, poetry, art and literature.”

The Project is due to run for three years, until December 2015, and is managed by The Highland Council on behalf of the Highland Biodiversity Partnership.  It receives funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage, The Highland Council and the Crown Estate.

Alan Laidlaw, The Crown Estate’s Rural and Coastal Portfolio Manager (Scotland), said, “The Highlands have some of the finest and most fragile wildlife and ecosystems in the UK so we are very pleased to be funding this project and to be building on our work with the Partnership and coastal communities across the region.

“By helping residents and visitors to identify and record wildlife, we can raise awareness of seashore and coastal biodiversity and help protect the natural environment that industries such as tourism depend on. We’ll look forward to working alongside Highland Council, SNH and the Heritage Lottery Fund as the project develops.”

The Crown Estate’s Marine Stewardship Programme supports community and not-for-profit initiatives that promote sustainable management of coastal areas, as well as scientific research to build knowledge about the activities we manage. Since 1999, the programme has supported around 100 community projects in Scotland with approximately £1m investment. The Crown Estate recently introduced Local Management Agreements, designed to give not-for-profit organisations the opportunity to manage local coastal assets, and support wildlife recording projects elsewhere in Scotland, including a long-standing volunteer group at the Glenlivet Estate.

The Council has engaged environmental contractor Janet Ullman to co-ordinate the Project.  She said: “We have lots of ways in which people can take part in this project.  There will be a series of training workshops taking place at coastal locations throughout the Highlands where people can get an introduction to how to identify and record seashore wildlife.  There will be a family-friendly “Seashore Life” Roadshow touring this summer and early autumn, and we are planning an Arts and Cultural Heritage Festival themed on the marine and seashore environment of the Highlands.”

The first training workshop is planned for Saturday 23 March in Broadford, Isle of Skye, to take advantage of the equinoctial low tide, and there will be further events held in different locations over the Highlands over the next three years.

Visit the website www.highlandbiodiversity.com; Highland Seashore Biodiversity Project on Facebook or contact Janet Bromham on tel: 01463 702274 or email janet.bromham@highland.gov.uk for further information.


27 Feb 2013