LLYN ALAW SITE OF SPECIAL SCIENTIFIC INTEREST
SITE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT
What is ‘special’ about Llyn Alaw SSSI?
Llyn Alaw has 4 special features:
The largest moderately nutrient-rich lake in Anglesey
Several species of over-wintering wildfowl; notably whooper swan, shoveler and teal, the population of each closely reaching 1% of the British population.
Breeding tufted duck
The uncommon slender spike-rush which occurs on the reservoir margins.
As well as the features listed above, Llyn Alaw has other habitats that contribute to the special interest. These include small areas of woodland and scrub along parts of the lake shores, marshy grassland and scrub at the northern end, mud exposed around the margins of the lake at lower water levels and small islands in the reservoir. This mixture of habitats is important for much of the wildlife including wintering mallard, wigeon, goldeneye, pochard, tufted duck and sometimes pink-footed geese. Common terns and black-headed gulls nest on islands in the reservoir while tufted duck, mallard, great crested grebe and coot also breed here. The exposed muddy shore supports several unusual mosses including Weissia rostellata, Ephemerum sessile and Fissidens monguillonii. The wetland supports varied vegetation including sedges, purple moor grass, reed canary-grass, bulrush (reedmace) and other plants offering shelter and potential nest sites for birds including reed buntings. In autumn large flocks of waders, in particular curlew, lapwing and golden plover, feed on exposed muddy areas.
Unless specified below, management of this site should aim to look after these habitats and species as well as the listed features of interest.
Llyn Alaw should comprise approximately 350ha of open water. It should continue to support populations approaching or exceeding 1% of the British population of over-wintering whooper swan, shoveler and teal. Whooper swan should be feeding on the wetland habitats but also on nearby farmland on grass, grain stubble and root crops. The lake should support other birds such as, mallard, wigeon, goldeneye, pochard and pink-footed goose, along with breeding tufted duck, great crested grebe common terns and black-headed gulls. Slender spike-rush should be frequent around the lake shore and there should be extensive areas of wetland characterised by common reed, reed canary-grass and associated vegetation.
Marginal muddy feeding grounds should continue to be exposed by annual changes in water level by reservoir management to allow migrating birds to use these areas to feed.
Small patches of scrub and native woodland should remain since they provide shelter and nest sites for a variety of insects, birds and other animals
What management is needed on Llyn Alaw SSSI and why?
Although Llyn Alaw is an excellent place for wildlife it will only remain so if the necessary management continues. CCW’s aim is to work with you to ensure that this management is carried out.
What does this mean in practice?
There are many factors that could damage the special features at Llyn Alaw if they are not properly managed. These are the ones we regard as most important:
Use of fishing boats in agreed areas, is unlikely to have adverse effects providing that care is taken to avoid disturbance to breeding birds and accidental pollution from engines. Engines should be well maintained to minimise risk of oil/fuel leaks caused by mechanical failure and to limit noise levels as far as possible. Speed should be limited to prevent damage to lake-shore, islands and vegetation by “wash”.
Natural succession/infilling: Natural processes may result in increased siltation. When this happens some aquatic species may be lost but new habitats will be provided for other species.
Care should be taken to limit silt inputs to the lake; ploughing within the catchment should leave a buffer zone on the margins of any tributary or along the lakeshore to prevent soil being washed into the lake. The lakeshore should continue to be stock proofed.
Scrub and woodland control: Small areas of scrub (including willow and alder) provide nesting places for birds and shelter for other animals. However too much scrub can alter the special qualities of the remaining fen and the lake margins and it may sometimes be necessary to carry out control manually. The small area of conifer plantation should not be allowed to increase.
Our knowledge of wildlife is far from complete. It is possible that new features of value may appear and new management issues may arise in the future, whilst other issues may disappear. This statement is written with the best information we have now, but may have to change in the future as our understanding improves. Any information you can provide on the wildlife of your site, its management and its conservation would be much appreciated.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your SSSI, or have any concerns about your SSSI, please contact your local CCW office.
Your local office is;
Cyngor Cefn Gwlad Cymru/Countryside Council for Wales
Llys y Bont,
Ffordd y Parc,
Gwynedd, LL57 4BN,