Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) now own a considerable amount of land between Newchurch and Sandown. The aim is to re-naturalise the river and wetlands, as far as is possible when it is dissected by a former railway line.
The scrapes and ponds created at Morton Marsh have been a great success so far and the viewing platform now has interpretation boards and a great vantage point for the site. Good numbers of odonata were seen last summer (yet to see any this year but they are sure there will be!); birds seen include reed warbler, sedge warbler, cettis warbler, cuckoo, over wintering snipe, little grebe, lapwing. The sand Martin nest tubes are in the bund, hopefully they can attract some to come in & use them!
At Newchurch Moors HIWWT have cleared some of the ditches to maintain some open water on the site; they removed some overhanging trees and followed up with a small digger to remove debris build up and re-profile to a more gentle gradient to encourage more marginal vegetation. They also hired a contractor with a tree shear to remove some trees in a few areas along the main river channel to allow more light in. They intend to remove some of the stumps and allow some to regenerate to create diversity & ensure there will always be both open and shaded sections of the river.
This year the Wildlife Trust will be putting a big effort into dealing with Himalayan balsam and will also be reviewing grazing and drainage in the flood plain to look into options for restoring the flood plain where its been degraded over the years from dredging the river and draining land for various reasons.
HIWWT are reviewing whether it is feasible to introduce beavers to the Lower Eastern Yar. This is pending a public consultation and successful application to Natural England.