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Restoration project for nature reserve

A west end nature reserve is to get a makeover.The Bermuda Audubon Society said a “major restoration project” at the Somerset Long Bay Nature Reserve was launched to tackle vines and cow cane that had overrun the reserve.Karen Border, the society’s president, said in the winter to spring newsletter, published earlier this month: “Sadly, the vines had completely smothered and killed a number of mature trees on the south side of the reserve, including black mangrove, red mulberry and hackberry. “In phase one of the project, the vines and dead trees have been removed, surviving trees have been cleared of vines and the cow cane has been cut down. “A number of other invasive species such as Chinese fan palms and Pride of India, have also been removed.”Ms Border added the first phase of the project was carried out by Horsfield Landscaping backed by volunteers, who also helped to clear bottles and trash from the site.She said: “Phase two of the project will involve the removal of the cow cane tubers to prevent regrowth followed by extensive replanting. “A maintenance programme will be put in place to ensure the invasive species do not take over again — the society will be looking for a sponsor to meet the costs of maintenance.”Ms Border added: “The reserve will remain a wildlife refuge, with restricted access, but the pond can be viewed from the perimeter fence.”The Somerset Long Bay Nature Reserve was taken over by the Audubon Society in the early 1970s.The organisation restored a marsh on the site that was filled in with garbage in the early 20th century.Ms Border said: “The society re-excavated the pond, leaving islands where healthy stands of mangrove had survived. “After the pond was deepened in 1979 to prevent it being choked by Sheathed Paspalum grass, it developed a rich freshwater marsh community.“Because of its location on the north-west tip of Bermuda, newly arrived migrants, including rarities, are often first spotted here.”Moorhens, coots, pied-billed grebes and yellow-crowned night herons have all nested in the reserve and purple gallinule are often seen in the area.