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Loch of Strathbeg Local Goose Management Scheme

This aims to maintain sustainable populations of wintering geese at Loch of Strathbeg and minimise agricultural damage and economic losses.

Scheme overview

Location: identified core feeding areas within 3.5km of the Loch of Strathbeg

Goose species: pink-footed goose, barnacle goose and greylag goose

Population level: 24,800 geese in March 2014 and 10,150 geese in April 2014 (mean goose counts)

Extent: 88 hectares approx. of agricultural land

Number of participants: usually 5 or 6 holdings

Duration: 4 years, from March 2017 to April 2020 (a series of one-year management agreements run from 1 March to 30 April annually)

Eligibility

To be eligible, agricultural land must:

  • lie within an area of high goose use
  • be permanent or rotational pasture
  • be in a suitable condition to attract geese

View the map of eligible fields below.

 

 

View the Loch of Strathbeg Local Goose Management Scheme eligibility table

How to apply

Applications are accepted annually in December. You must identify on a map the locations of any areas you wish to be part of the scheme.

Download the Loch of Strathbeg Local Goose Management Scheme application form

Management requirements from 1 March to 30 April (inclusive)

Provision of undisturbed feeding refuge

  • provide undisturbed ground for goose feeding – no grazing should take place between 1 March and 30 April
  • you must record your stock turnout dates and goose scaring activities and submit this information when you claim payment
  • you can only apply inorganic fertilizer in refuge fields; however, this will not be paid for under the scheme
  • you are not permitted to spread farmland manure or slurry during the term of agreement

Scaring

  • you should scare geese from other fields during March and April to encourage them to use the feeding zone within the scheme
  • use only ‘non-lethal quiet’ scaring methods within 100m of the feeding zone (i.e. no gas guns, rope bangers or shooting)
  • keep a record of scaring activity: you should record when, where and how you’ve scared geese
  • submit your record of scaring activity and stock turnout to Scottish Natural Heritage by 15 June
  • you must get an out-of-season licence for the lethal scaring of geese
  • land managers who choose to undertake non-lethal scaring are responsible for buying and erecting any scaring equipment

Payment

£114 per hectare per year (up to 88 hectares)

Monitoring

Goose numbers and distribution

One visit is made in March and a second in April. Dropping density and sward height are measured in scheme fields to estimate goose use per day over the scheme duration.

Proportion of the goose population supported by the scheme

We calculate the proportion of the goose population that the scheme supports. Goose use data informs the selection of scheme fields in later years. Values below 100 goose days per hectare are considered low goose use and mean sward heights greater than 25mm indicate the grass was underused.

Farmer perception monitoring

SNH issues a questionnaire to land managers both within and outside the scheme area to invite their views of the scheme.

Cropping practices

Stock turnout dates will be monitored for all participants each year.

Inspections

The following ensure compliance with the scheme’s eligibility criteria and management requirements.

Before land is accepted on to the scheme, SNH will check its historic goose use and if its location is with recognised core feeding areas. The land will also be visited to ensure it meets the eligibility criteria.

Field size and boundary data will be checked against current Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) prior to a Management Agreement being offered. Payments are made against the net field area stated on the current season’s Single Application Form, unless part of the field is identified as unsuitable, in which case a reduced area will be offered in the Management Agreement.

While the scheme is operating, goose scaring must not take place on land entered into the scheme. Only quiet scaring methods may be used within 100m of the feeding zone. Inspectors will note where and when scaring devices are in use.

If you carry out lethal scaring of geese, we will check that you (or the contract marksmen) hold a licence to do so on your land.