The Essex Coast has for centuries been identified with its marshes and the birds that live there. Man’s interactions with the coast have been more or less severe. Fishing, for the diverse fish of the Greater Thames Estuary or for the oysters that inhabit its creeks have left a heritage of small coastal communities, of traditional fishing craft, and a great love of sailing. Farming has left a no less distinctive mark. From early times sea walls were built to enclose areas of marshland for the grazing of livestock, until by the 1950’s a considerable percentage of the primaeval salt marshes were enclosed and drained. These have become important areas for wildlife in themselves. More recently, modern agriculture has led to a shift from livestock to intensive arable farming behind the sea walls. Climate change has led to a further reduction in saltmarsh area, through erosion of saltings, so putting further pressure on one of the last truly natural environments to be found. With strong nature conservation legislation in place in the UK, attention has been turned to the development of more co-ordinated management arrangements for the mid Essex Coast. This document contains draft proposals which aim to ensure the future of the key species and habitats which exist there. Your views are important to us, so please read this document carefully and send your comments to Beverle
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