The natural environment of Findhorn Bay is internationally important for threatened habitats and species. This has been recognised by the award of several important designations.
The Bay is part of the Moray and Nairn Coast Special Protection Area (SPA). SPA’s are designated under the EU Birds Directive and are part of the Natura sites which form a unique network of protected sites stretching across Europe. The description for this SPA states that it is of outstanding nature conservation and scientific importance for coastal and riverine habitats and that it supports a range of wetland birds throughout the year. In summer it supports nesting Osprey, whilst in winter it supports large numbers of Iceland/Greenland Pink-footed Goose, Icelandic Greylag Goose and other waterbirds, especially ducks, sea-ducks and waders. Although slightly dated, more details of this SPA can be found here.
The same area is also designated a RAMSAR site. These are a worldwide network of sites established following the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance which was adopted in RAMSAR, Iran in 1971. The UK Government signed up to the Convention in 1976. The Moray and Nairn Coast RAMSAR site qualified under a number of criteria covering habitat, flora and bird species present. The current RAMSAR Information Sheet for this site can be found here.
Findhorn Bay along with Culbin Sands and Culbin Forest is also designated as a national Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Findhorn Bay was formally designated as a Local Nature Reserve by Moray Council in 1998. It is administered by Moray Council with a local management committee consisting of representatives of local users and interest groups. Importantly, it has a representative from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) on the committee to provide advice on the natural environment. SNH are funded by the Scottish Government and one of their prime purposes is to promote, care for, and improve our natural heritage. More details can be found on their website.