The Lower Otter Restoration Project is featured this week at the Gobeshona Conference on Locally Led Adaptation Action, in Bangladesh as an example of how Britain is adapting to the climate crisis.
Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency, headlines the example of how Clinton Devon Estates and the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, alongside the Environment Agency have created a £15 million scheme to help the valley adapt to climate change, and create an internationally important wildlife reserve.
Noting that the lower part of the River Otter – home to England’s first wild population of beavers in 400 years – was realigned early in the 19th century, she said:
“Ever since 1812, the river has been trying to reconnect with its floodplain – as nature would have it. Embankments that separate agricultural land and a cricket club from the river will be breached to allow land to flood at high tide. The move will involve over 150 hectares of the catchment, including 55 hectares of saltmarsh and mudflats that provide habitat for wading birds, and there will also be areas of reedbed and grazing marsh.
“The project is partnered with another in the Saâne Valley in France, and if successful the model will be rolled out further.
“It is a good example of how locally-led adaptation immediately connects to international collaboration and partnership.
“While we search for new technologies to meet the challenges of the coming century, many of the solutions we need are already understood by local communities. And are all around us, in nature.“
Clinton Devon Estates Director John Varley, said: “This major landscape-scale project has come about because of an exemplary public-private partnership which will benefit people, the environment and wildlife. It is testament to the work of all involved that it is now being used on an international stage as an excellent example of how rural estates can play a key role in addressing the climate crisis, leading the way in respect of a number of national agendas including nature recovery, creating new habitats and delivering a net gain in biodiversity, on a landscape scale.”
You can read the full speech here.
To learn more about the Lower Otter Restoration Project, visit: www.lowerotterrestorationproject.co.uk