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Restoration & Enhancement

Restoration & Enhancement

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Restoration & Enhancement
Restoration & Enhancement

What are my options for marine enhancement?


The words ‘restoration’, ‘recovery’, ‘regeneration’, ‘rewilding’ and ‘habitat creation’ are used in different settings and for different reasons, but the term ‘marine enhancement’ can be considered an umbrella term for “actions that aim to improve the quality, size or geographic distribution of a habitat and status of the species that it encompasses”. In general, the priority is to protect species and habitats where they currently exist and to remove pressures to allow natural recovery where a feature has been lost or damaged before active restoration is considered. In some cases, active restoration may be considered where appropriate and necessary.

The most common species and habitats currently being restored in Scotland are…

  • Native Oysters
  • Seagrass
  • Sand Dunes
  • Saltmarsh

Other species and habitats may also be responsive to restoration efforts in your area and a whole system approach can be very rewarding. For example it is worth considering enhancement of coastal amphibians, reef-forming bivalves such as flameshell or horse mussel alongside targeted work on other species. Whilst SMEEF only funds work on species and habitats which have salt water as a core part of their life cycle, you may want to look at other options for restoration such as Scotland’s coastal rainforests. Choosing your target species for restoration can be difficult and we recommend that you spend some time looking at available data about existing and historic populations (start with the relevant regional assessment and data in the National Marine Plan interactive’ (NMPi)) and then talk to local and national experts about what is possible, what is involved in terms of regulations, and what unintended consequences might occur, before deciding.

Create a bespoke check list for your project:

Suggested actions to add to your checklist…

Here are a number of resources which should help guide your marine enhancement program. Some will detail what has been found locally (and how healthy it is) such as the assessments, and some provide broader help and information.

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