Red River rescuers help protect natural habitat

The Red River Valley Local Nature Reserve (LNR) near Camborne has a new group of friends who have taken on the task of looking after the areas of valuable natural habitat in the valley.

Volunteers, including members of the Cornwall Dragonfly Group and Cornwall Butterfly Conservation, have come together with the aim of carrying out much needed conservation work in this important wildlife reserve, which is owned by Cornwall Council and managed by CORMAC.

Since the end of tin streaming in the valley during the last century, areas that were once bare ground and open water have gradually been returning to a more natural state and this means some habitats are disappearing.

With the support of CORMAC Solutions, the Red River Rescuers have already held a series of conservation days over the autumn and winter. At Bell Lake Marsh a large area of scrub has been cleared to restore an area of wetland which is one of the best remaining dragonfly sites along the Red River valley.

The marsh is home to breeding colonies of the nationally scarce Small Red Damselfly and Keeled Skimmer, but in the last 10 years it has lost it's colony of the Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly and in the last 30 years a colony of Marsh Fritillary butterflies.

Help has come from first year geography students from the University of Exeter at Tremough who spent two muddy days removing silt and vegetation from the marsh to retain areas of open water which are critical to the dragonflies’ survival.

The group has also recently been given a boost thanks to a donation of hand tools and safety clothing by Western Power Distribution. These tools will help volunteers controll willow and other invasive plants which have been slowly taking over the open spaces along the river.

Steve Jones, one of the co-ordinators of the Red River Rescuers, said: “It's fantastic to see the positive impact that our volunteers have had on these hugely important wetland habitats at the very core of the Red River Valley LNR, working along the old tin streaming sites is so worthwhile and enjoyable.”

The Red River Rescuers next conservation day will be held at Bell Lake Marsh on Saturday, February 23from 11am. 

For more information about the Red River Rescuers have a look at their website www.redriverrescuers.weebly.com.

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