Case Study- Keyhaven Salt Marsh


General Info and Wildlife

Keyhaven salt marsh is located in Hampshire, south England. 

Keyhaven has been recognised as a SSSI (site of special scientific interest) as well as a national nature reserve. This means that the area is carefully monitored and managed to maintain its rich bio-diversity. 

It is home to a diversity of wildlife such as:

  • oystercatchers
  • sea lavendar
  • cordgrass
  • wildfowl
  • wadling birds

Many birds rest in keyhaven salt marshes during migration, from the south, and the area is essential to the existance of some species'. 

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Threats to Keyhaven:

  • Sea levels are rising by 6m per year
  • Erosive waves are hittting the marsh with strong force meaning the habitats of rare species are being destroyed. 
  • The wildlife is being scared away by tourists.
  • Litter from tourists is damaging fragile eco-systems and potentially killing animals.
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Solutions and Management

Solutions and management:

  • No solutions have been established yet to prolong the effects of sea level rise, however, the government are considering the consruction of a sea wall to protect the area. This will also prevent the effects of erosion as it will reflect the wave's energy back out to sea. Disadvantages to this are that reinforced concrete structures are not aesthetically pleasing and will displease locals and environmentalists. It may also make it difficult for animals to enter the area or block the sun which may lead to a corrupt eco-system.
  • In 1996, Norweigan granite rock armour was put in place to reduce the impact of the waves and act as a buffer. They can last hundreds of years and require little maintenance. It cost £5million. Beach nourishment was also used to increse the height and width of the spit in an attempt to stop breaching.
  • More bins have been provided to reduce the amount of litter and encourage tourists to dispose of it properly.
  • There is now vehicle restrictions to prevent damage to plants and wildlife.
  • Very fragile areas have been designated as staff-only zones in an attempt to stop tourists trampling on wildlife or disturbing the eco-system.
  • During the summer cattle and ponies from the New Forest graze the reserve to help to control scrub and invasive species such as rush.  
  • Access is limited and developments restricted.
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