THE Duchess of Norfolk unveiled a new wildlife viewing scope to mark the official opening of the Arun ‘riverlife project’ during an evening celebration at WWT Arundel Wetland Centre, on Thursday (September 19).
The new scope in the visitor gallery sits opposite the artificial kingfisher nesting bank created as part of the project.
The duchess said: “The fact that this conservation work has taken place at WWT Arundel is wonderful. I would like to congratulate all those involved – from the planners, to the construction team and especially the generous donors.”
The project restored the main lagoon in front of the visitor centre to a natural wetland. It involved removing trees to open up views, improve flight-lines and reduce perching opportunities for predators. The lake was drained, hundreds of fish and eels were relocated, and tons of silt were excavated.
A new water control structure was installed and the area was extensively landscaped and re-planted.
During the meeting David Fairlamb, centre manager, said: “This project at Arundel embodies what the WWT is all about – habitat restoration. It brings threatened wetland habits close to people, so you feel immersed in it, as if you are sitting on the islands with the wildfowl.”
WWT director of centre development Kevin Peberdy, said: “The project reconnects the wetland centre with the South Downs and with the River Arun. Interpretation describing the history of the River Arun has been installed in the visitor gallery, in which Arundel plays an integral part.”
The Arun Riverlife project was supported by grants from Biffa Awards and the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA). A number of members of the SDNPA also attended the opening.