ONE of the UK’s rarest habitats is being unveiled to the public on Wearside this weekend.
At the Wetlands Centre in Pattinson, Washington, a £120,000 saline lagoon has been created to strengthen the biodiversity of the nature reserve’s wildlife by connecting it to the River Wear.
Saline lagoons are among the country’s rarest habitats and their nature – a mixture of fresh and sea water – provides the ideal salinity levels for different wetland species to thrive.
Wetlands Centre manager Gill Pipes said: “This is an exciting and diverse new habitat, which strengthens the relationship between our site and the River Wear.
“We are hugely grateful to our funders for allowing us this opportunity to work together in enabling our visitors to get closer to mammals such as roe deer and otter, plus a wider range of birds and flora.”
The lagoon has been funded by the SITA Trust and the Estate of the late Mrs M A Sheard.
The new habitat floods during spring high tides of five metres or more.
Mud islands have also been built up along the middle of the lagoon and are topped with pea gravel, which it’s hoped will provide essential nesting habitat for wading birds to use.
The lagoon is open from 9.30am today, and centre staff will be on hand on to talk to visitors about the development.
Those who wish to can join in on a tour and see the lagoon flood by meeting in the picture window at the Wetlands Centre at 3pm.