The Guardians of the Deep project is a partnership between Thanet Council (Thanet Coast Project), Medway Swale Estuary Partnership, Natural England, Kent County Council and led by Kent Wildlife Trust. It has support from the Heritage Lottery Fund with a grant of £446,100 to run a 3 year project (2017-19).
The project aims to involve local communities, businesses and visitors by raising awareness of marine habitats and promoting active and ongoing guardianship role to protect Kent’s coastal and marine wildlife for the future. Almost the entire Kent coast falls within a Marine Protected Area (MPA). Kent has six Marine Conservation Zones and the possibility of five more by 2018. Kent’s marine habitats are considered at threat from unsustainable and damaging fishing practices, invasive species, pollutants and increasing levels of recreational disturbance.
The activities within the project will raise awareness of the wildlife importance of these areas and involve volunteers in helping to protect them and promote their enjoyment.
The project will aim specifically at three stretches of coastline that encompass newly designated Marine Conservation Zones, including NE Kent - the Thanet Coast. The project involves three project officers (Thanet; Folkestone-Dover; and part-time in the Medway-Swale area).
The main project areas will cover:
Coastal Guardians - the development of community champions: learning from the successful Thanet coastal wardens around NE Kent, guardians will become the eyes and ears of the coast, surveying and sharing information with conservation organisations.
Undersea Explorers - involving workshops with young people raising awareness of marine habitats, water safety and snorkelling skills.
WildBeach - a programme of inspiring outdoor activities for schools and youth groups run at the coast, building self-confidence and self-esteem whilst learning about Kent's natural marine heritage.
Coastal Connections - digital campaign to build awareness of, and support for, the importance of sustainable use of our marine environment and supporting events - including the Thanet Coast's small events programme.
Coastal Citizen Science - volunteers will be trained in surveys and species recognition to enable them to take a direct role to help conserve their local natural coastal heritage - including the establishment of a north Kent CoastBusters team, extending the Thanet Coast’s extremely successful pilot Pacific oyster control programme.
Further details: 'Guardians of the Deep' leaflet 2015/16 (PDF, 1491kb)
Guardian of the Deep 'Gap Analysis' - Summary Report (23/3/2016: PDF, 563KB)
Press Release: Fantastic news for Kent's natural heritage (24/1/2017, HLF)
Poster: Sandwich & Pegwell Bay NNR Guardians Workshop invite 5 May 2017 (PDF,577KB)
c/o Thanet District Council,
PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent CT9 1XZ
Thanet Coast (NE Kent Marine Protected Area) Officer
Telephone: +44 (0) 1843 577672
(based in Manston Road Depot)