A Blackpool nature reserve has received a £340,000 boost from the Environment Agency - just a week after securing a similar grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
This latest instalment brings a total investment of £670,000 into the Marton Mere Nature Reserve. The money will be used to create a new visitor centre as well as building and improving existing bird hides.
Andy Shore, flood and coastal risk management senior advisor at the Environment Agency, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this important work at Marton Mere, which will further improve the biodiversity of the site.
“This project will continue to strengthen the partnership between the Environment Agency and Blackpool Council and hopefully lead to even more joined-up projects in the future.”
The reserve, Blackpool’s only Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), is nationally recognised for its bird population – playing host to the likes of water rails, whimbrels and even visiting ospreys.
News of the funding has delighted the council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, Coun Graham Cain.
He said: “Securing investment from Heritage Lottery Funding alone is absolutely fantastic news, and with the substantial additional contribution from the Environment Agency we’re over the moon.
“This project is so important to the town as it will not only help boost the area’s biodiversity, but it will also provide local people and visitors with a fantastic range of opportunities to get involved and take care of this important landscape for many years to come.”
Coun Fred Jackson, Cabinet member for urban regeneration, said: “We’re working in partnership with the Environment Agency on a number of projects, including the costal defence scheme, and this is another great example of how beneficial working together and pooling resources can be.
“This investment will go a long way in helping to safeguard the variety and quality of the sites ecosystems and biodiversity and make the reserve more accessible.”
The funding will also be used to improve visitor entrances, footpaths as well as pond work and vegetation clearances to further encourage wildlife to prosper in the area.
A three year project starting in January 2014 involving a number of education and training programmes has also been introduced with volunteers being urged to take part.
For more information on how you can get involved as a volunteer, contact Lisa Foden, Stanley Park and parks development manager on firstname.lastname@example.org or (01253) 477477, or Kath Godfrey, area manager on email@example.com or call 07764 655711.