Inventory of Surveys and Scientific Reports
The Exe Estuary Partnership has recently catalogued all of the research and studies that are available about the Exe Estuary into one inventory that can be downloaded here:
The 3,000 hectares of the Exe Estuary encompasses a variety of habitat types, which include mudflats and sandflats, mussel beds, eelgrass beds, salt marsh and intertidal reedbeds. Such diverse habitat types support a rich assortment of wildlife, from microscopic worms to thousands of wintering waterfowl and waders. As a site of such ecological importance, the Exe Estuary has been designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EC Birds Directive, a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1986, and a Ramsar Site under the International Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. Furthermore, Dawlish Warren is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) as well as both a National and Local Nature Reserve, whilst the sandbanks adjacent to Exmouth are classed as a Local Nature Reserve.
The Exe Estuary also provides an ideal environment for a variety of human activities such as shellfish cultivation, tourism and a wide range of recreational activities. Management of such activities on the Exe Estuary is essential in order to ensure its sustainable development and use. The designations listed above aim to conserve and enhance the Exe, to ensure that the wildlife is protected for the future. Each designation is covered in the ‘State of the Exe' (2006), highlighting features of the site which are of national or international significance. For each feature there are a number of attributes and targets, outlining aims that Natural England would like to achieve for that feature in order to meet conservation objectives. Natural England is responsible for surveying and monitoring to ensure that these attributes are being met, in order to conclude that the site and its features are in favourable condition or conservation status, and reporting the condition of the Exe to the government once every 6 years. The monitoring of these targets are essential as an indicator as to whether the current management of the site is sufficient, to ensure that development and activities are not having a detrimental effect on the Estuary.
In order to make effective use of past surveys and data that has been collected, and to be able to look for trends in the condition of the various features, it is important that the data and methods of previous surveys are accessible. This report is an inventory of past surveys and scientific reports relating to the Exe Estuary that are held by partners of the Exe Estuary Management Partnership. It aims to inform decisions as to which surveys to prioritise, which targets have been comprehensively surveyed, and how recently. This should clarify whether a target is being met, saving time and resources from repeated surveys, or whether gaps in survey work exist which need to be filled.