'The diggers left and within days the wildlife was back'

The Montrose Basin saltpans have been restored after being choked with weeds.

A project to restore an overgrown saltmarsh has sparked the swift return of wildlife to an Angus beauty spot.

The Montrose Basin saltpans, which played a vital part in the area’s salmon trade for centuries, had become choked with reeds.

Birds couldn’t access the pools of water until the vegetation was removed.

“As soon as the diggers went off, we had the wildlife come back in,” said Richard Averiss from the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

“They finished just before Christmas and took the machinery away. By January 2, we had kingfishers fishing in the pools. We’ve had herons back and waders, we’ve had redshank.

Richard Averiss from the Scottish Wildlife Trust inspects the saltmarsh.

“We’ve also had a fox move in through during the day – the wildlife has come back straight away.”

The project was made possible through the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund, and is one of a number in Angus to benefit from a £150,000 pot.

Saltpan pools have now been re-excavated with support from the Scottish Wildlife Trust and, following the early positive signs of returning wildlife, it is anticipated the impact will be long-lasting.

Changes will be monitored over the coming months and years as the habitat reaches its full potential.

Anna Cowie, Angus Council's environment project officer.

“Healthy saltmarsh has an added aspect of being really good at storing carbon,” said Anna Cowie, environment project officer for Angus Council. “It can actually store four times more carbon than tropical rainforests.

“That’s another reason why we wanted to carry out these enhancement works here. The project, as it stands, has just been done.

“The excavation work to re-dig out these pools has just happened. We’re in the early stages now and we’ll see this developing over the weeks, months and years to come.”

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