The Project’s Aims
The Restoration Forth Project is a multi-year project which endeavours to re-establish native habitats within the Firth of Forth. The project which has the financial backing of Scottish Power, intends to focus on the restoration of the Forth’s native oyster reefs and seagrass meadows. The project is set to take place from now until 2024, and over the next three years 30,000 oysters will be released and up to four hectares of seagrass will be restored. The project will be under the management of WWF but will be a collaboration of scientists, charities and community groups with the intended goal of connecting communities with their local sea scape.
The Firth of Forth was once a thriving marine ecosystem which supported a mosaic of native habitats and species, however, centuries of transformative activities and large scale industrialisation along its banks, has led to a shift in the environmental landscape.
The Forth formally supported an expansive oyster reef until our appetite surpassed their natural restocking ability, and as a consequence there are virtually no remaining oysters in the Forth today. Moreover, the extent of seagrass meadows present in the Forth are considered to be a fraction of their historic extent.
Restoration Forth intends to initiate the rejuvenation process of the Forth, by re-introducing these two species in greater densities it is hoped that these populations will be able to self-seed and propagate naturally, bringing with them beneficial ‘ecosystem services’ and encouraging an increase in biodiversity. Restoration Forth | WWF
The UN has designated this next decade, as the decade of ecosystem restoration in response to the acceleration of habitat loss. Restoration Forth is a project that aims to champion the incentives outlined by this UN initiative.
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust’s Headquarters in Dysart has been selected as one of the community hubs
How to get involved
This project will be facilitated through citizen science, volunteering opportunities and through a marine awareness programme. Unfortunately, right now we are at the beginning of this incredible journey, so be patient there will be plenty of opportunities to contribute to the restoration of seagrass within the Forth. Please keep a close eye on our website and social media channels, so that you don’t miss an opportunity to get stuck in with seagrass restoration. As one of the community hubs we will also be offering a range of events from rockpool guddles, beach art and a range of practical conservation tasks, visit Fife Coast and Countryside Trust’s events page details of upcoming events.
Conservation Team – Seaweed Workshop
Our Conservation and Engagement Team has been learning about the importance of seaweed to the River Forth’s marine ecosystem. We enjoyed a training session on Earlsferry beach, with Jayson Byles from East Neuk Seaweed, where we learned how to safely and sustainably identify and forage small amounts.
We met Jayson an hour before low tide where there was an abundance of brown, green and red seaweed to discover such as bladderwrack, kelp and dulse. Jayson showed us how to safely harvest tiny amounts to taste on the spot – and we discovered that not all seaweed tastes of salt but can also be peppery and garlicky. After the seaweed safari, Jayson demonstrated how to cook seaweed and dished up a very tasty dish of dulse and sea spaghetti in red pesto!
As part of this ambitious project we are offering you the chance to respond creatively to one of the many species that lives (or lived) in and around the Firth of Forth and help raise awareness about its importance.
100 of these species – from tiny bacteria to whales – have been selected and distributed between the Restoration Forth Community Hubs.
Choose a species, learn about it and its habitat, dependency on other species (and possibly one amazing fact!) and then create something to celebrate it – this could be a painting, model, sculpture, jewellery, something knitted, sewn, welded or carved, a poem, a song or a play, ‘a short video’ – let your imagination run wild! You can do this as an individual or better still work as a group.
Please consider sustainability and if possible use upcycled or recycled materials. To find out more email email@example.com
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust’s Headquarters in Dysart has been chosen as a Restoration Forth Hub and as such we are taking part in the ‘One Hundred Species Creative Challenge’. We have been given 17 species which live on or in the Forth Estuary and we would encourage individuals and groups to get involved in this project, by creating artistic responses to one or more of the species we have been given. We have done a little research to assist you to get started. Just click on the species in the list below to find out more about these fascinating creatures.
3. Hydroid – Bimeria vestita Allocated
4. Benthic copepod – Paramphiascella hyperborea Allocated
8. Parasitic Shrimp – Hyperia galban Allocated
10. Sand Goby – Pomatoschistus minutus Allocated
11. Knot – Calidris canutus Allocated