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WQE01 Habitat Restoration and Water Quality

Wheat Beck joining the River Rye at Locker Low WoodWheat Beck joining the River Rye at Locker Low Wood

Habitat Restoration and Water Quality

Working directly with land managers, and with the help of volunteers we are busy creating ambitious conservation agreements to improve the water quality of rivers and increase the amount of beneficial habitat in the catchment.

Through this project, we are funding capital items, such as fencing and water troughs to reduce bank side poaching, as well as area payments - for creating things like wet meadow or species rich grassland creation.

If you are a land manager, and are interested in getting involved with this project, please get in touch.

Project Aim: To conserve, restore and reconnect terrestrial and aquatic habitats along the riparian corridor and wider landscape of the upper Rye catchment; to mitigate against diffuse pollution and reduce run off and sedimentation from rural land use practices; to improve water quality and the natural function of the ecosystem to benefit other wildlife and people.

Project Outcomes:

  • Improved habitat quality, extent and connectivity
  • Improved water quality
  • Improved landscape quality
  • Improved understanding
  • Volunteer and local community engagement

A More Natural River

A natural functioning river is vital for hydrological processes, as well as enabling fish and other animals to move around freely.  54 obstacles have been identified within the catchment which prevent fish migration or restrict natural processes from occurring.

Over the last month consultants have surveyed 15 structures, suggesting improvements which will make the river a more natural functioning system.

Working with land owners these options will be discussed and full technical drawings created to enable applications to be submitted for necessary consents including planning permission and land drainage consent.

Project Aim: To restore a more naturally functioning river by re-establishing in-channel habitat connectivity and river processes; promoting biosecurity and domestic advice to raise awareness of water quality issues. A more resilient river in the face of ever present environmental pressure like climate change will benefit aquatic species and local communities.

Project Outcomes:

  • Restored natural river processes – restored in-channel habitat, sediment transportation and hydrological connectivity
  • Restored natural river processes – greater habitat availability and access to additional fish spawning habitat
  • Improved understanding of river processes, functions and services
  • Volunteer and community engagement
  • Improved understanding and awareness of the importance of biosecurity and appropriate management of septic tanks
  • Increased monitoring and data gathering

Small and Tall: The Rye's Bats and Ancient Trees

We want to celebrate some of the incredible rare and internationally significant species that call the Ryevitalise landscape home.

The Ryevitalise catchment is home to one of the largest collections of ancient and veteran oak trees in northern England, which in turn provide habitat and roost sites for one of Britain’s rarest mammals, the alcathoe bat.

We will train up a team of enthusiastic volunteers to drive an exciting citizen science project mapping and recording the distribution and health of these fantastic species.  This valuable data will help us work with land managers to protect them for future generations.

Project Aim: To develop a deeper knowledge of key bat populations including the rare and newly discovered Alcathoe bat, and draw attention to the tremendous resource of veteran and ancient trees in the Ryevitalise landscape area. To educate people about these species, encouraging and promoting appropriate land management and habitat restoration.

Project Outcomes:

  • Improved understanding of veteran tree condition
  • Improved understanding of bat communities
  • Veteran tree restoration and habitat restoration to benefit species including bats
  • Volunteer and community engagement
  • Increased monitoring and data gathering

Saving the White-clawed Crayfish

Project Aim: To monitor and safeguard the endangered white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) from the impact of non-native crayfish; to be at the forefront of latest research on how to combat invasive crayfish species; to raise awareness and promote the importance of biosecurity for a healthier and more resilient aquatic environment.

Project Outcomes:

  • Better recording of crayfish populations
  • Healthier rivers
  • More people engaged with natural heritage
  • Improved land management practices

Wooded Wonders: Restoring the Rye's Ancient Woodland

Trees and woodlands filter and regulate the flow of water into rivers, stabilise their banks and result in improved water quality and reduced risk of flooding downstream.

Trees provide invaluable ecosystem services in the North York Moors, and create important habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna, such as the rare alcathoe bat, and prevent sediment inputs that can damage the river bed which is vital to our endangered white-clawed crayfish and river lamprey that can both be found in the Rye catchment.

We’re working with land managers to identify plantations growing alongside rivers and water courses where we can support works to benefit water quality and biodiversity.

Project Aim: To restore over 200 hectares of ancient woodland by working with local landowners; to benefit the water environment and species that rely on these important habitats; and to enhance the landscape character of the upper Rye catchment for people to enjoy.

Project Outcomes:

  • Priority Plantation on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS) and Ancient Semi Natural Woodland (ASNW) in programme of restoration leading to improved habitat quality, diversity and connectivity, and improved water quality
  • Improved landscape quality – removing large monocultures
  • Improved understanding; what is PAWS and ancient woodland sites
  • Volunteer engagement

Invasive Non Native Species (INNS)

Water courses provide ideal transport mechanisms for many invasive species to spread, notably the now familiar Himalayan balsam. This specie shades out native vegetation, leaving banks bare over the winter and prone to erosion.

Our project aims to control this annual species using surveys to identify its occurrence.  Contractors and a team of volunteers will then remove as much as they can between July and September, when the plant is in flower but before seeding.

Project Aim: To control Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) in the Ryevitalise scheme area to help secure the future for native threatened species and habitats, benefit water quality and improve the environment for everyone who works in and visits this special landscape.

Project Outcomes:

  • Better condition of riparian habitats and improved natural river processes
  • Improved understanding of INNS and their impacts
  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Volunteer engagement

Ryevitalised Farming: Working with Farmers

Farming is intrinsic to the landscape of the North York Moors, and around 45% of its land is farmed.  This project aims to engage with the farmers living within the catchment and promote best practice.

We have a series of events planned which will focus on soil health and sustainability, as well as farm visits promoting discussion on soil management practices and how modifications can lead to improvements in water quality and farm sustainability.

Project Aim: To encourage learning and sharing of best practice amongst land managers in order to bring about environmental improvements in the Rye Catchment.

Project Outcomes:

  • More people engaged through training and education
  • More people developing skills
  • Landowner engagement
  • Habitat improvements
  • Better managed water environment and water quality
  • Reduced pollution
  • Reduced environmental impacts
  • Better place to live, work and visit