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 Mudwort set to make its come back

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LeeRain
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PostSubject: Mudwort set to make its come back   Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:32 pm


Mudwort (Pic: Scottish Wildlife Trust)
Mudwort lives in muddy habitats
A rare plant which thrives in mud is to return to a Fife wildlife reserve after conservationists drained water from the site.

Mudwort is being helped to grow following the new technique at the Scottish Wildlife Trust's Cullaloe Wildlife Reserve, near Aberdour, Fife.

The water has only been temporarily lowered to create the right conditions to help mudwort.

It is hoped the herbaceous plant will return to the site in large numbers.


Over the next few years the Scottish Wildlife Trust hopes that mudwort will become commonplace on the reserve and the species on the site will also become more diverse as a result of this work
Alistair Whyte
SWT's reserve manager

Cullaloe is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its rare plants, including mudwort which grows in a very few places in Fife.

Water levels have been lowered by opening the reservoir's sluice exposing large areas of mud, replicating conditions found when the site was a functioning reservoir and when mudwort thrived.

Alistair Whyte, SWT's reserve manager for the area, said: "This is a great example of how a simple management technique can benefit a number of species.

"Over the next few years the Scottish Wildlife Trust hopes that mudwort will become commonplace on the reserve and the species on the site will also become more diverse as a result of this work."

Rise again

If the project is successful, SWT hopes to mimic the rising and falling water levels regularly so the rare plant can flourish.

Other wildlife also benefits from the lower loch levels. The exposed mud attracts waders such as curlew, lapwing and redshank, and the number of ducks using the loch has already increased significantly.

Recent sightings have included large numbers of teal, wigeon and mallard. There is also a large number of other wildfowl using the loch, such as coot and moorhen.

The water level will be allowed to rise again to its former level over the coming months.

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