The final phases of habitat creation on Wallasea Island are nearing competition as the contractors have now been on site since late May so we thought we would take this opportunity to let you know what’s going on.  The attached map shows the design of Wallasea Island.

To the south west of the reserve is cell 4 (yet to be named) which is eventually going to contain three separate lagoons fed from the sluice on the south sea wall. As part of the works, one of the sluice pipes is being converted so that it will draw water onto the island from the river Roach and into a stilling basin the other side of the sea wall. This pipe will then be managed by the RSPB, the second pipe will remain with the Environment Agency and will continue to drain water from the west of the Island via the south borrow dyke.  The stilling basin will “still” or calm the water, taking the energy out allowing it to be fed into three already existing ditches to create individual lagoons. In the long run this will boost large numbers of waders such as avocet and lapwing. The water fed into the new lagoons will exit as required via a new culvert and channel into Pool marsh lagoon to the north-east of the reserve and will be fed into Jubilee Marsh(Cell 1) to end up back in the River Roach

Image: South sea wall sluice

Image: Stilling basin

Image: Cell 4 to Pool Marsh outlet channel

Cell 2A (also yet to be named) will become a saline grazing marsh which will have it water supplied by a drop board sluice in the north east corner of the new lagoons through a bund shared with Cell 4. This area will still be grazed in the same way as Marsh Flats grazing marsh (Cell 5). Cell 2B on the other hand will be completely rain fed creating similar habitat to the western grazing marsh with the exception of being solely dependent on the weather and will also provide grazing areas for cattle. This type of habitat is ideal for some wader species such as lapwing and avocet, although once the young have hatched the avocets will tend to seek out more water with their chicks. During the colder months we also hope this will attract more wintering geese and provide additional hunting areas for raptors.

Image: Drop board sluice 

Once this work has been completed and the grass begins to grow we hope to open up some new trails to allow our visitors to explore these new areas.