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River Esk near Egton Bridge by Chris CeaserRiver Esk near Egton Bridge by Chris Ceaser

Esk Pearl Mussel and Salmon Recovery Project

The Esk is the only river in Yorkshire that has a population of freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera). Freshwater mussel populations are declining both nationally and internationally, and the Esk pearl mussels are on the verge of extinction.

The National Park Authority, working alongside  the Environment Agency, Natural England and Durham University, have secured funding from the WREN Biodivesity Action Fund. This funding is supporting work on the River Esk to improve  habitat for the threatened freshwater pearl mussel and salmon populations, through the Esk Pearl Mussel and Salmon Recovery Project

The funding supports river habitat improvement work such as riverbank fencing (including small gutters and tributaries), riverbank stabalisation, tree planting, wetland and pond creation, silt trap and woody debris dam installation, control of invasive plants, improvements on tracks and around gates, and provision of stock watering facilities for livestock. The priority area for this work is the River Esk and its tributaries, upstream of Glaisdale.


Simon Hirst, River Esk Project Officer
T: 01439 772700

Catchment Sensitive Farming

Catchment Sensitive Farming delivers practical solutions and support to enable farmers and land managers to take voluntary action to reduce diffuse water pollution from agriculture to protect waterbodies and the environment.

The current Catchment Sensitive Farming Programme can provide advice on regulation, one ot one training and in some cases grants for farm infrastructure improvements. 


David Rees (River Derwent), Environment Agency, York
T: 01904 825806

Jonathan Payne (River Esk and North Yorkshire coastal streams), Natural England, Northallerton
T: 0300 060 1901

For specialist advice on rivers please contact the Environment Agency on 03708 505 506.


If you need to report a pollution incident - ring 0800 807060 (freephone, 24 hour service).