by Colin Shawyer

As part of a barn owl recovery programme in south east England, the Wildlife Conservation Partnership surveyed the Brede Valley and, with the enthusiastic support of local farmers and landowners, installed 20 nest boxes for this species. This project was made possible through funding from the Environment Agency and the East Sussex Wetlands for Wildlife Project.

Barn owls declined by 72% in East Sussex and Kent between 1932 and 1987, when the population throughout the UK had become fragmented and isolated. Restoration of riparian networks of rough grassland habitat and installation of nest boxes provide stepping stones for the successful dispersal and conservation of this species.

Farmland alongside the rivers Brede and Tillingham will provide a key habitat link between the rivers Rother and Cuckmere and Pevensey Levels, where barn owls have already been restored, through collaborative projects between the Wildlife Conservation Partnership and the Environment Agency.

The nest boxes will be monitored and maintained for the first time in 2008, and thereafter each year, to assess the progress of this project.

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