Surrounded on all sides by towns, villages, arable farming and industry, the waters of Loch Leven, and the wildlife they support, have been under serious stress in recent decades. From the 1940s onwards, the discharge of domestic sewage and industrial effluent, together with increased fertiliser run off from surrounding farmland, led to a build-up of nutrients in the Loch. This caused algal blooms which reduced the clarity of the water, so that plants could only photosynthesise and survive in the shallowest water. This greatly reduced the abundance and diversity of plants in the Loch.
In recent years, we have been active partners in a catchment management plan which has led to significant improvements in the quality of the water discharged into the Loch. Plants have responded, growing once more in deeper water and returning to shores from which they had all but disappeared. With improved water quality we have been able to enhance shoreline management for wetland species. Natural erosion, light grazing or active management is needed to keep open areas on the shore where the scarcer, more delicate species can flourish.
The land around Loch Leven provides many opportunities to diversify the Reserve for plants and birdlife, and, along with the RSPB, we have worked to create a range of appropriate habitats, consistent with the historic and cultural landscapes around the Loch. No nature Reserve remains static, however, and constant action is needed to keep the Reserve fit for breeding and wintering birds. And while we are delighted to welcome so many more people onto the Reserve, we need to ensure that visitors get the best possible experience without disturbing the birds that are such an attraction.
Last updated on Friday 4th March 2011 at 15:43 PM. Click here to comment on this page