Dynamic Lagoons (Wallasea)

Year Implemented


Project Type

Regulated tidal exchange


United Kingdom


Roach Estuary





Habitat(s) Created
  • Lagoon

  • Mudflat

  • Saltmarsh

  • Transitional Grassland


187 Hectares

Why Undertaken
  • Biodiversity Enhancement

  • Climate Change (Sea Level Rise) Mitigation

  • Flood Risk Management

  • Habitat Creation

  • Provide a Recreational Facility

  • Provide Fish Habitat

Project Description Summary

This was the final phase of the RSPB's Wallasea Island Wild Coast project. It was a unique initiative that involved introducing tidal/saline water (from the Roach Estuary) to an area of former low-lying agricultural land that was highly vulnerable to a future flood event.

In total around 269 ha of coastal wetland habitat was created including: 132 ha shallow water lagoon; 55 ha of saline grassland; and 82 ha of freshwater fields. This type of coastal landscape has never been created in the UK before and certainly not at this scale. The habitats are designed be reminiscent of those found in Mediterranean salinas (biodiverse coastal lakes used historically for salt production). They will also be similar to parts of the Camargue in the south of France or Doñana in southern Spain.

These new habitats are designed to provide a suitable environment for more southerly bird species which are currently not that common in the UK such as Spoonbill, Black-Winged Stilt, or Kentish Plover. It is expected that as these species move north in response to climate change they will increasingly need to rely on shallow water saline lagoons such as those that are now created at Wallasea.

On 13 January 2020, a standard Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) of this site showed that it supported 7,977 birds (including 2,870 Golden Plover, 2,515 Lapwing, 857 Wigeon and 700 Teal). During the same survey over 33,000 birds were recorded across Wallasea island as a whole.

During a Wetland bird survey (WeBS) count in December 2023, 52 bird species and almost 39,000 waterbirds (including notably Avocet, Teal, Shoveler and Black-tailed Godwit) were recorded across the whole island.  

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