Guernsey Press

Environmental projects to benefit from £40k in grants

BATS, eelgrass and native crabs will all be benefiting from grants from the Strategy for Nature Fund in 2024.

Dolfin project are using the funding from the Nature Fund for acoustic equipment to listen out for cetaceans in the Bailiwicks waters like the Risso and bottlenose dolphins. (32995894)

Just under £40,000 of taxpayers' money has been awarded to 11 local environmental projects and two student research projects, including dolphin acoustic equipment, interpretation boards at nature reserves and growing native Guernsey plants.

‘This grant has enabled some fantastic projects since it was established in 2020 and we were really excited to see such a range of projects and research applications submitted in this funding round,’ said senior natural environment officer Julia Henney.

‘They really help to deliver the Strategy for Nature’s aims of learning more about our environment, enhancing biodiversity and engaging with the local community.’

This is the first year the fund has been managed in partnership with the Nature Commission, which was established last year to work with business, government, the third sector and the public to enhance the island’s natural environment and promote greater biodiversity.

Previously, the fund had been solely administered by Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services.

The Nature Commission’s head of operations and education, Angela Salmon, said it was thrilled to receive an amazing variety of applications.

‘These projects will help us get a better understanding of our natural environment as well as

enhancing areas for biodiversity.'

The DolFin project is one of the projects that will benefit. It was set up in 2019 to better understand the abundance and distribution of different whales and dolphins in Bailiwick waters.

It will purchase and operate new acoustic listening pods.

‘The funds are going to be used for a really exciting study of cetacean acoustics and also tagged tuna,’ said project co-ordinator Nicky Harris.

‘This is something Jersey have been doing and we have wanted to expand into our waters as part of a pan-island initiative.’

The fully automated monitoring pods detect porpoises, dolphins and other toothed whales by recognising the echo-location sounds they produce to detect their prey, orientate and interact.

‘The pods can stay in the water for six months listening and collecting vital data,’ said Ms Harris.

However, she added that that the project was still seeking other funding and would be interested in hearing from anyone keen to support its work.

Two bursaries have also been awarded to students carrying out undergraduate research projects. These two projects will assess the carbon stocks of eelgrass beds in the Bailiwick, and assess the impact of the furrowed crab on native crabs in Guernsey.