Keep off Exmouth nature reserve! New areas of the Exe Estuary protected for wildlife
PUBLISHED: 11:10 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:10 14 August 2018
The public is urged to avoid using an Exmouth nature reserve from next month as two new areas to protect wildlife on the Exe Estuary come into force this week.
Known as wildlife refuges, the areas to avoid will be marked out with distinctive yellow buoys printed with large letters. Fines will not be issued to anyone seen in the areas.
The public is asked to avoid using Exmouth Local Nature Reserve (LNR) between September 15 and December 31; and all year round at Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve (NNR).
At Exmouth LNR, the wildlife refuge protects important feeding areas during low season.
The Imperial Recreation Ground slipway can be used to access the foreshore during this time, although dog walkers are being asked to turn left at the end of the slipway, to avoid the refuge.
At Dawlish Warren the wildlife refuge protects important wildlife feeding and resting areas all year round.
Both refuges will be monitored to understand the effects on wildlife.
Stephanie Clark, of the Exe Estuary Management Partnership, said: “These wildlife refuges are a good approach to ensure that recreational activities can continue on the Exe in harmony with the important wildlife.
“The safety of people on the estuary is a top priority and we advise visitors to take all necessary safety precautions.
“On the water, to keep safe, you may have to temporarily enter a wildlife refuge. But as soon as it’s safe to do so, please make your way out again.”
Cllr Humphrey Clemens, chair of the South East Devon habitat regulations executive committee, and Teignbridge district councillor, said: “The refuges are needed because as our population grows, more people are visiting the Exe Estuary to enjoy all it has to offer.
“We need to balance these competing demands to preserve this beautiful place for generations to come and fulfil our legal obligations.”
He added: “The mild climate and the vast food sources of the Exe mudflats attract tens of thousands of wetland birds.
“On their long migratory journeys from as far away as arctic Siberia, these birds face many challenges and are exhausted when they arrive.
“Please help us protect them by avoiding the wildlife refuges, as the birds may not survive if they are regularly disturbed.”