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Habitat creation and restoration Wetland

Wetlands are waterlogged areas, such as marsh, fen or bog, and are considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems.

Some dry up seasonally, whilst others stay wet permanently. They are a valuable habitat for wildlife, especially for many bird species, and can act as a natural flood defence system.

Wetland habitat has decreased considerably in the UK, with England having lost 90% of its wetlands in the last 1000 years, due largely to factors including urban and agricultural development.

Reed beds and wader scrapes are two types of wetland that provide invaluable refuge and habitat for a wide range of wetland wildlife.

Wader scrapes are constructed to imitate natural hollows where water would collect. They support high volumes of insects which feed birds and amphibians, and encourage many plant species which benefit water voles. Reed beds have a sloping profile and contain mostly common reeds. All parts of the reed bed are important for wildlife, from drier areas to the wettest, and are beneficial to water voles, birds, butterflies and amphibians.

In practice

We worked with a large utilities company to carry out extensive enhancement of an existing nature reserve in East London. As the region's last remaining areas of grazing marsh and the largest reed bed in Bexley, this important site supports water voles, wintering and breeding birds and rare invertebrates.

The works included:

We carried out wetland creation of areas consisting of wader scrapes and reed beds.

On a nature reserve in East London we created a reed bed of 1.5 hectares which we planted with over 70,000 reeds. We created wader scrapes, enhanced some existing ditches, dug new ones and installed bird hides.

Wetland creation