Rebecca Harris champions the value of nature following visit to Canvey Island RSPB Reserve

Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris is encouraging her constituents get out enjoy the local countryside following a recent visit to RSPB West Canvey Marsh nature reserve on Canvey Island.

Rebecca Harris MP: “Access to nature is a valuable resource for people and communities, we are incredibly fortunate to have a huge nature reserve on our doorstep. We are lucky to have events like Canvey Island Wildlife Day for the whole family to enjoy and learn about our unique wildlife reserves; but the marshes can be enjoyed all year round. Places like West Canvey Marsh not only provide homes for many of our most threatened species, they give local people a place where they can spend time outdoors being active, learning and playing in the natural environment.

“On my most recent visit to West Canvey Marsh, the RSPB explained how water on the site is controlled and managed to create habitats for birds and other wildlife, while providing valuable water storage capacity that helps to prevent flooding on the rest of the Island.”

West Canvey Marsh is a 269 hectare nature reserve that forms part of a network of wet and dry grassland, reed beds, lagoons, saltmarsh and scrub habitats managed by the RSPB the in South Essex. Historically the site was used for grazing, and livestock still plays an important role in managing habitat for protected birds such as redshank, avocet and lapwing.

Managing water onsite is also important for creating and maintaining habitats for wildlife.  In the winter the RSPB is able to take up to 80,000 cubic metres of water out of the main river with permission from the Environment Agency.  This water is then stored in the main reservoir and used to feed the lagoons and marshes during the summer months. Bunds separate the reserve from the rest of the island, retaining the water onsite where it is needed.

Isobel Donovan, Senior Sites Manager for the RSPB’s South Essex nature reserves: “It’s great to have Rebecca taking an interest in the environment and in local nature reserves. Our staff and volunteers work hard to maintain and manage the reserve for wildlife and for people, and it’s rewarding to have many local people enjoying the reserve, whether they are walking their dogs, visiting the play area with their families, seeking out rare birds or photographing dragonflies.

Find out more and plan your trip at: www.rspb.org.uk/westcanveymarsh