Wetland Example of Payments for Ecosystem Services (WEPES) is a project set up to restore a section of historic flood plain on the river Fal in West Cornwall. By restoring wetland and creating a Payments for Ecosystem Services scheme WEPES aims to reconnect 21 hectares of intensively grazed flood plain.
This restoration work will provide habitats classified as a UK BAP habitat. This means it is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan as an area that is threatened and requires conservation action. Habitats such as Coastal floodplain grazing marsh and wet woodland will form part of the habitat network. By restoring such a unique and valuable habitat, several species that are also listed under UK Biodiversity Action Plan will be supported. Species such as eels, the common toad, curlews , lapwings and numerous other reptiles and invertebrate species will be supported within the varied habitats created.
This will be achieved by utilising a variety of techniques including reinstating the pools as sediment traps and the instillation of stop locks. At certain times these locks can be closed, diverting water from the ditches back onto the surrounding floodplain. Culverts will also be installed in certain areas to re-connect the floodplains to the River Fal.
The WEPES project has been a success in identifying a long-term vision for the floodplain at Trewarthenick that includes a wider suite of beneficiaries than just agriculture. The Westcountry Rivers Trust has been developing PES schemes across the Westcountry both within and outside of the WEPES scheme to improve river catchment function through the targeting and restoration of hydrologically important areas.
To find out more about Payment for Ecosytems Services watch our video below,