The nature reserve near Crimond is Britain’s largest dune lake and an important wintering ground for up to a fifth of the world’s pink-footed geese.
It is also home to a wide variety of wetland wildlife such as B. nesting terns and gulls, migratory shorebirds and wintering wild birds.
RSPB Scotland was awarded £47,500 to install a new tilt lock on the Savoch Burn, the main tributary to the Loch of Strathbeg.
Loch of Strathbeg Nature Reserve site manager Richard Humpidge said: “This burning has introduced quite a bit of phosphate into the loch and the lock will allow us to better control the flow of water to reduce this.
“Excess phosphate affects the water, meaning it is unsuitable for some of the wildlife that lives in and around the lake.
“Due to the reduced water flow, we will also be installing a solar powered pump to keep our adjacent wetlands nice and moist, perfect for species like pink-footed geese.
“I’ve been working on this project since around 2014, so it’s really nice to see it coming to fruition.
“This will benefit all of the thousands of wintering ducks and swans and improve habitat for breeding shorebirds.”
The Scottish Government’s annual Nature Restoration Fund, managed by NatureScot, funds projects that benefit Scotland’s species, forests, rivers and seas and improve the health and well-being of local communities.
These projects will take practical steps to help address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss and restore Scotland’s natural environment.
RSPB Scotland’s Loch of Strathbeg Nature Reserve award is one of 46 successful projects across Scotland sharing the additional nearly £5,000,000 raised in this round of the Nature Restoration Fund.
Projects will take practical steps to improve natural habitats, protect plant and animal species and enhance biodiversity.
The 2022 Nature Restoration Fund complements the many millions of pounds in Scottish Government funding provided through the Biodiversity Challenge Fund, the Scottish Rural Development Programme, the 2021 Nature Restoration Fund and other sources to support biodiversity and implement Scotland’s biodiversity strategy.
Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said: “We know that transformative change is needed to protect and restore biodiversity on land, freshwater and sea in Scotland.
“That’s why we set up the £65million Nature Restoration Fund for projects that help Scotland’s species, forests, rivers and seas.
“These diverse, innovative projects are already bringing benefits across the country – not only for the environment, but also for the health and well-being of local communities.
“The Nature Restoration Fund is just one of the ways we are demonstrating our commitment to combating biodiversity loss and restoring nature for future generations.
“Later this year we will publish an ambitious new biodiversity strategy that aims to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 and reverse it by 2045.”
Francesca Osowska, CEO of NatureScot, said: “Now more than ever we are aware of the urgency of climate change, but there is hope.
“By restoring nature, protecting and enhancing habitats, and protecting marine life, we can ensure a better future for nature and for ourselves.
“Scotland is now taking action to address the tremendous challenges and pressures nature is facing. It’s individual projects like the ones funded today that will make the difference and put us on the road to recovery.
“Climate change needs nature-based solutions, not only to help us reach net-zero by 2045, but also to create a healthier, more resilient Scotland.”