Studland Bay is home to Dorset’s most extensive seagrass meadow and provides a unique habitat for lots of important species like the Spiny Seahorse and the endangered undulate ray. The new funding, which will see the installation of an additional 57 eco-moorings installed in the bay, was secured following a successful funding bid with Dorset Council. This will contribute to a larger £248,000 conservation project to support this special site, the wildlife that live there, and the water users who enjoy it.
Meeting the needs of water users
The Studland Bay Marine Partnership (SBMP) was formed in 2021 to help make sure the Studland Bay area is protected for nature whilst meeting the needs of water and boat users. It is made up of local stakeholders like conservation and boating groups, academics, community groups, and local businesses.
The funding will also be used to complete the formulisation of the partnership, provide more information for boat users in the Studland and Poole harbour marina areas, and continue an engagement programme, led by the Dorset Coast Forum, throughout 2024 and beyond.
Phil Horton, RYA Environmental & Sustainability Manager, said: “The award of the FASS grant shows how bringing together a wide range of conservation and user groups can lead to solutions that work for wildlife, habitats and people.”
David Brown, Chair of SBMP, said: “This is fantastic news for residents, visitors, boaters, and the environment! Receiving this funding supports the Studland Bay Marine Partnership to continue the important work of conserving and preserving Studland Bay for future generations to enjoy.
“Hundreds of waterborne visitors to Studland Bay are already taking a pro-active approach to conservation by using the 31 eco-moorings already installed and we are delighted that we will now be able to install a further 57 in 2024.”
Voluntary no anchor zones
The new eco-moorings will support the voluntary no anchor zone (VNAZ) already in place within in Studland Bay. The VNAZ was established in 2021 by the Marine Management Organisation with the support of the local community to protect the bay’s seagrass meadow.
The forum has been working with partnership organisations throughout 2023 to raise awareness of the VNAZ and Studland’s precious marine habitats. Future engagement events will continue to offer boaters and the public the opportunity to view the partnership’s display eco-mooring which featured on the BBC’s Springwatch programme earlier in the year.
You can find out more about the Studland Bay Marine Partnership and the conservation project at Studland Bay on the Dorset Coast Forum website.