Rare species in Lincolnshire set to benefit from new funding announced

14 September 2023

Rare species in Lincolnshire set to benefit from new funding announced

  • 63 projects awarded share of £14.5 million to support species recovery across England  
  • Rare and endangered species Crystal Moss-animal (Lophopus crystallinus) in Lincolnshire set to benefit from efforts to boost recovery
  • Work will contribute to government commitment to reduce species at risk of extinction

Some of England’s most rare and threatened species – from the Large Marsh grasshopper, native White-clawed crayfish to Lapwings and Water Voles – are to be supercharged on the road to recovery thanks to a multi-million-pound grant scheme.  
63 projects across the country have today (14 September) been awarded a share of £14.5 million by Natural England to help recover 150 species nationwide.

The Species Recovery Programme Grant Scheme supports targeted action to recover our most endangered species. The funding will support efforts to fine tune habitat conditions for our rarest species, and actions such as propagation, captive rearing, translocations, research and solution-trialling to find the best approaches to enable endangered wildlife to survive and thrive.

England’s wildlife is facing extreme pressures – habitat fragmentation, climate change and invasive species have created huge declines, with average species abundance falling by 52%. Numbers of the Duke of Burgundy Butterfly, for example, have declined by some 50% in the last 20 years.  

In Lincolnshire, a project will be delivered to recover the very rare Crystal Moss-animal (Lophopus crystallinus). The Crystal Moss-animal, commonly known as the bellflower animal, is a rare bryozoan (an aquatic invertebrate animal), and is one of just eleven species of bryozoa found in Britain. The recovery project on Greater Lincolnshire’s Blow Wells will be delivered by Lincolnshire County Council. This project aims to identify the ecological requirements of this species to help establish new populations.

This project will contribute towards this species population recovery through increased knowledge, monitoring and engagement, helping to establish a more resilient population of Crystal Moss-animal in Greater Lincolnshire.

David Amuzu, of Natural England in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, said:

“Our rare and endangered species are facing extreme pressures and it is important we work together to take action to prevent further decline.

“Little is known as to why the Crystal Moss-animal is only found in one of Greater Lincolnshire’s Blow well sites. We are delighted to support this project to gain understanding and boost the long term prospects of this internationally important species.”

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said:  

“Nature is in drastic decline all around us, with England now one of the most nature depleted countries in Earth. Many once common animals and plants are much reduced with some 15 percent of species at risk of becoming extinct here.

“It’s a dire situation, but can still be turned around. We know this because we’ve seen the population of the once endangered Bittern rise dramatically, the recovery of the Fen Raft Spider and Water Voles successfully reintroduced to areas from where they had previously been lost. The partnership projects we are highlighting today demonstrate the power of collaborative action to reverse species decline and we look forward to seeing positive practical progress as a result of the investments being made”.

The money has been awarded following a competitive application round, and will be used by environmental charities, wildlife organisations, local authorities and charities in projects across the country.

The projects will help deliver the Nature Recovery Network, creating, improving and connecting more wildlife-rich areas benefitting people and helping species to thrive.

The projects will also provide new opportunities for people to experience the wellbeing benefits of accessing the natural world, and help build resilience to climate change, while sustaining the vital ecosystems that provide us with healthy soil, clean air and water.

Improving strongholds for wildlife and investing in long-term species recovery will help achieve the government’s pledge to reduce the species extinction by 2042 compared to 2022 levels, restore more than 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat, and increase species abundance as set out in the Environmental Improvement Plan.