Exmouth from the Exe Estuary

The behaviour of birds around the Exe Estuary will be monitored for the next 3 years. This will show how birds are affected by a range of activities on and near the Exe Estuary.

The behaviour of birds on and around the River Exe Estuary is to be monitored for the next three years to understand the effects of people and their activities on this important wildlife habitat.

Monitoring of birds will help measure the effect of new Wildlife Refuges at Exmouth and Dawlish Warren, which will commence in September 2018.

The voluntary Wildlife Refuges were agreed by the South East Devon Habitat Regulations Executive Committee (SEDHREC) in October 2017 , following a 9 month public consultation.

Chair of SEDHREC, and Chair of Exeter City Council’s Planning Committee, Cllr Rachel Sutton said:

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the design of the Wildlife Refuges. Protecting the Exe Estuary for everyone for the future is a priority for us and the monitoring will help us understand how effective the Wildlife Refuges are.

The refuges are part of the Exe Estuary Special Protection Area which provides space for 20,000 birds to rest and feed. This means that neighbouring East Devon, Teignbridge and Exeter Councils must legally prevent disturbance to birds and deterioration of their habitats.

We are asking the wide range of Estuary users for their support as we ask people to avoid a very small part of the Exe Estuary - all year round at Dawlish Warren’s refuge and from mid-September to end of December at Exmouth’s refuge.

The monitoring programme will count the number of birds at the start and finish of a short period throughout the year. Covering a wide range of conditions including weather, tide states and events, the monitoring visits will take place at different times and at different locations to show effects on birds such as waders, gulls, terns, wildfowl, egrets and herons.  The records will illustrate any activities affecting the birds at the time including recreation, trains and planes, contractor works and birds of prey.

Reports of the monitoring results will be published as part of SEDHREC agendas in summer 2019, 2020 and 2021. Over time, comparisons can be made with the previous monitoring report, the Exe Disturbance Study December 2011 to determine the effectiveness of the Wildlife Refuges.

You can follow the progress of the Wildlife Refuges on twitter @SEDevonWildlife and https://www.facebook.com/SouthEastDevonWildlife/