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River Restoration works

River Esk by Simon HirstRiver Esk by Simon Hirst

Habitat restoration work is being carried out along the River Esk which will improve conditions for pearl mussels, fish populations and a whole host of other riparian species such as Otters, Dippers, Kingfishers and river invertebrates.

So far we have carried out River restoration work on a total of 38 farms, in order to help restore the habitat of the River Esk. Here is a summary of what we have achieved so far:

  • Installation of riverbank fences to allow "assisted natural recovery" of the river. The fences will prevent bank erosion by livestock and allow a natural buffer strip of native flora to establish (32km)
  • Creation of buffer strips between the river and agricultural land to reduce sediment and nutrient run-off (2-10 metres of land on each side of the river)
  • Broadleaved tree planting to create a riparian woodland corridor (1300+ broad leaved trees at 11 sites)
  • Improvements to cattle crossing points (using culverts and concrete sleepers) to prevent nutrient and sediment input to the river system. Construction of cattle crossing points (7 sites)
  • Provision of alternative watering supplies for livestock - pumps, spring connections and troughs (30 new installations)
  • Management of bankside vegetation including, coppicing and pollarding of dying trees and removal of trees that are causing bank erosion (total of 8 days work)
  • Gate improvement works next to watercourses (6 sites)
  • Catchment Scale Invasive plant treatment; controlling Himalayan Balsam along a 15km stretch between Commondale and Houlsyke, and treating Japanese Knotweed along a 17km stretch between Lealholm and Eskdaleside