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New management agreement signed between RSPB and Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn at Loch Stiapabhat

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and the RSPB have recently signed a management agreement for the bird observatory and nature reserve at Loch Stiapabhat.

The agreement, finalised in 2020, arose from the joint aspiration of both parties to maintain and manage the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) at Loch Stiapabhat. Under the terms of the new agreement, the RSPB will be permitted to undertake scientific surveys and research, monitor the flora and fauna of the area and highlight the assets of the nature reserve for educational, scientific and conservation purposes. Events and visits affiliated with the Loch Stiapabhat nature reserve are hoped to take place when restrictions permit, with an official launch event equally hoped for. These new agreed permissions will benefit visitors, local community and wildlife through the research, management and monitoring that will take place at the wetland reserve, with particular emphasis placed on benefits for breeding corncrake, which is globally threatened as a species.

Corncrake. Picture credit: RSPB

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhasinn will be responsible for overall management and upkeep of the hide and boardwalk, although some minor and day-to-day maintenance tasks associated with the upkeep may be done in partnership with the RSPB.

Robin Reid, Senior Conservation Officer for the Outer Hebrides, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn at Loch Stiapabhat. This wetland reserve is very important for breeding corncrake and wading birds such as lapwing and redshank, but it is also a fantastic place to experience the spectacle of bird migration in spring and autumn. The reserve is uniquely situated within the community of Ness and we look forward holding events and increasing community engagement with the reserve as well as working on habitat management to benefit the wildlife. The RSPB working together with Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn will give Loch Stiapabhat a place on the map that this incredible reserve on our doorstep deserves.”

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn said: “The partnership between the RSPB and Urras Oighreachd Ghabhasinn will be of great benefit to our local community, wildlife and visitors. We very much look forward to the research findings, conservation opportunities and future events that will arise from this new agreement.”


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