Devon's damselflies in distress given £5,000 boost02/09/2010 10:53:57 Countering the effects of quarrying
A £5,000 grant is set to boost the chances of southern damselflies that were released to an east Devon nature reserve last summer.
The Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) has been awarded the £5,408 grant by RockETS, a fund administered by Devon County Council. It will go towards vital conservation work at DWT's 25 hectare Venn Ottery Nature Reserve near Budleigh Salterton.
The money comes from Defra's Aggregates Sustainability Levy Fund in order to compensate for the impacts of quarrying. It is estimated that since 1947 a staggering 383 hectares of the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths have been lost, 31 per cent of which have been due to quarrying the rich sand and gravel deposits that underpin it. Bardon Aggregates is due to recommence quarrying its site over the road on Venn Ottery Hill in the coming months. DWT is working closely with the firm to minimise any impact and welcome their continued support.
'We won't know yet if the project is a success'
Ian Chadwick from Devon Wildlife Trust who manages the site said: ‘This is a nervy year for us following the release of 500 damselflies which were translocated from a heathland site in Dorset.
‘We won't know fully until next summer whether they have bred successfully as the larvae take two years to mature. We hope that the work this winter will give them more of a fighting chance as water levels have been pretty low following the dry summer.'
Work done prior to the release was extensive and carried out thanks to support from both the East Devon AONB and Pennon Environmental.