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RSPB appeal for fighting fund to fix flood damage

Last modified: 10 December 2013

Destroyed boardwalk at RSPB Titchwell Marsh after storm surge, December 2013

Visitor facilities and wildlife habitats have been damaged. This is the boardwalk at Titchwell Marsh

Image: RSPB - Steve Rowland

The RSPB today has announced that it is launching a fundraising appeal to address the wide devastation experienced across nature reserves in eastern England following last week’s storm surge.

In the aftermath of the floods, RSPB staff and volunteers across eastern England are coming to terms with the extensive damage to carefully managed wildlife habitats right along the coast.

At RSPB Titchwell Marsh nature reserve, in Norfolk, had it not been for the Coastal Change project a few years ago, the site would have been completely devastated.  

However there was still significant damage, with benches strewn with debris and the iconic boardwalk was in tatters.  Sand dunes that were 30 feet in height have been completely flattened by the surge.

The most extensive impacts were felt at RSPB Snettisham, Havergate Island and Dingle Marshes nature reserves.

For the thousands of people who have already flocked to see the winter wildlife spectaculars at Snettisham, the reserve isn’t even recognisable. Next to The Wash, many hides at this nationally important wintering ground for waders and geese are damaged. 

it will cost in the region of £300,000 to rebuild the habitats across the reserves in East Anglia

The Roost Hide is currently hanging at a 45 degree angle and the Sanctuary Hide has completely washed away. Access roads have experienced significant damage and the site is currently closed to visitors during this significant time of year for wildlife lovers.

Havergate Island on the Suffolk coast has been completely flooded by the extreme high tide. The whole of the island was breached and these holes in the sea wall will need to be repaired as soon as possible, otherwise the reserve will be vulnerable in the coming weeks and months.

At Dingle Marshes, the shingle bank has been breached, and large areas of grazing marsh habitat have been inundated with saltwater.  

Most significantly, this saltwater has also reached the reedbed, which will have significant impacts on species that rely on reedbeds to breed, such as bitterns, marsh harriers and bearded tits.

While they are still not sure of the full impact, the devastation to RSPB reserves has been immense. The RSPB has estimated that it will cost in the region of £300,000 to rebuild the habitats across the reserves in East Anglia. An emergency fund is being set up that can be used to get the affected nature reserves back into shape and repair the damage caused.

How you can help

We're setting up an emergency fund that we can use to get our reserves back into shape and repair the damage caused. Please help us rebuild from the worst storm in 60 years.