Applications for funding now open

The Loch of Strathbeg near Crimond
The Loch of Strathbeg near Crimond

Applications for funding through the Loch of Strathbeg Goose Management Scheme 2015 are now open

Every autumn pink-footed geese fly 800 km from their breeding grounds in Iceland to Scotland.

One of the first places they land is Loch of Strathbeg Special Protection Area, where numbers can reach 50,000.

In spring, as the geese prepare for their journey back to their breeding grounds, up to 20,000 feed on grass on neighbouring farmland, delaying the turnout for livestock and reducing yields of silage. The Loch of Strathbeg Goose Management Scheme was introduced to help meet the costs owners incur by allowing the geese to graze on their land undisturbed.

Since 1994, a goose management scheme, in one form or another, has been in place at the Loch of Strathbeg. Since 2013, there has been reduced funding for all goose schemes in Scotland.

Now into the final year of a three-year programme, the scheme will continue to operate under the changes implemented in 2013.

The main change was a reduced scheme boundary because the fields closest to the loch have historically always attracted higher goose usage, as confirmed by monitoring results.

Speaking on behalf of the LGMG, Julia Quin of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), scheme administrator, said: “Six applicants were able to secure funding under the 2014 scheme. As recorded goose usage was high, we have no plans to change the scheme in 2015. We encourage all landowners within the revised scheme boundary to apply to participate in the 2015 scheme. The LGMG also want to acknowledge the success of the scheme over the years, and the important role played by scheme participants in conserving this internationally important species.”

Application packs are available from the SNH Aberdeen office and the deadline for applications will be on Friday, December 19. For more information, contact Julia Quin on 01738 444 177 or email Julia.Quin@snh.gov.uk.