Prestigious conservation award for work at Dovestone Reservoir

Dave O’Hara, RSPB Site Manager at Dovestone; Ian Harper, United Utilities Catchment Partnership Officer Southern team; Geoff Carr, Ecologist; and Liam Kilbride, United Utilities Catchment Manager Southern team

GREENFIELD’S iconic Dovestone Reservoir has earned RSPB and United Utilities recognition for nature conservation efforts. 

Their partnership conservation project received accolades at this year’s Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management’s Annual Awards (CIEEM).

The Awards are judged by a highly qualified panel of ecologists and recognise excellence in environmental management across the UK.

The RSPB and United Utilities team at Dovestone won the Large Scale Conservation Award for its upland restoration work across an area roughly the size of 5,800 football pitches.

The work focussed on restoring internationally important peatlands, which had been damaged by a combination of atmospheric pollution, moorland fires and heavy livestock grazing.

Healthy peatlands lock up harmful carbon, help improve water quality and benefit a range of wildlife.

By planting vegetation on bare peat, sowing sphagnum moss, and blocking eroded gullies, the team has helped the peatland begin to recover and is already seeing positive results including an increase in birds such as curlews.

Elsewhere on the site, the team has restored and created variety of other habitats including a new woodland.

Dave O’Hara, Site Manager for the RSPB at Dovestone, said: “It’s fantastic to get this recognition from the professional body that represents ecologists across the UK.

“It shows a partnership between a water company and a conservation charity can deliver real results, and our landscapes can be better places with the right attitude and some hard work.

“We would like to especially thank the many local volunteers who have helped us achieve this at Dovestone.

“From planting sphagnum mosses to meeting visitors, and from digging in heather bale dams holding back water on the hill to litter picking, local people are integral to all we do.”

The RSPB and United Utilities team at Haweswater in the Lake District also received recognition from the CIEEM, receiving a High Commended in the Large Scale Conservation category for its Swindale restoration project.

The CIEEM Awards are the latest in a series of recent accolades bestowed on the RSPB and United Utilities partnership work at Dovestone and Haweswater.

In 2016 they received the Natura 2000 Award for conservation at Dovestone and last year the Swindale restoration project won the ENDS Environmental Impact Award for Natural Environment Project of the Year and the Wild Trout Trust Award for Best Large-Scale Habitat Enhancement scheme.

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