NEWS
<< Back to homepage news listing

Aug 2011

The Uist Goose Management Scheme has commenced for 2011, funded and coordinated by the Conserving Scottish Machair LIFE+ project. The project, a partnership between SNH, RSPB, the Comhairle and the Scottish Crofting Federation and co-funded by EU LIFE+ money, is now in it second year and looks to build on the successes of its first season.

image The Uist Goose Management Scheme has commenced for 2011, funded and coordinated by the Conserving Scottish Machair LIFE+ project. The project, a partnership between SNH, RSPB, the Comhairle and the Scottish Crofting Federation and co-funded by EU LIFE+ money, is now in it second year and looks to build on the successes of its first season.

Greylag geese can cause significant damage to arable crops leading to losses both for crofters and biodiversity. The crop cycle is the backbone of the traditional agricultural system on Uists and supports many jobs as a significant part of the local economy. Rotational use of the machairs to grow crops has led to a mosaic of internationally important habitats which support species such as corncrake, lapwing and many flowering plants. In addition the local cattle economy is reliant on the fodder crops produced to feed the animals in winter.

The Uist Greylag Goose scheme aims to minimise agricultural damage by using carefully timed and coordinated scaring activities.

“To ensure another successful year we need more local support than ever” said Rory MacGillivray, Uist Goose coordinator for Machair Life+.

Other local Goose Management schemes around Scotland are facing budget cuts while some are being wound up all together. The Uist scheme, in contrast, has funding secured and in place till March 2014 under the LIFE+ programme.

“If crofters can engage and help make the scheme work more efficiently for a second year, there will be a strong argument for continued goose funding on the Uists into the future.” continued Rory “We want to build on the success of last year when crop damage from geese was minimal, which is a significant advance on recent years.”

“There are basic things crofters can do which will deter geese that may be in the area of crop now. A key message is mix and change what you do. A scarecrow will work for a short time, but move it every few days and walk towards geese when you see them and flush them off.”

Project equipment such as specialist fireworks, kites, and targeted fencing is now being deployed. Additionally man-power in the form of 14 employed scarers will be fully utilised from now till October when the harvest is complete.

Goose scaring equipment is available through the Machair Life+ offices at East Camp, Benbecula for crofters on Uist. For further details crofters are asked to contact the office or look out for information notices around the islands.

CONTACT US