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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 Natural England and the Freshwater Biological Association, have secured funding from Biffa Award. This funding is supporting work on the River Esk to improve habitat for the threatened freshwater pearl mussel and salmon populations, through the Restoring Freshwater Mussel Rivers in England Project

The Project is carrying out river habitat improvement work, such as riverbank fencing (including small tributaries), riverbank stabilisation, tree planting, wetland and pond creation, silt trap and woody debris dam installation, control of non-native plants, improvements in farm yards (e.g. concreting, rainwater goods, clean/dirty water separation), track works (e.g. cross drains), gate improvements (e.g. laying hardcore), and provision of stock watering facilities for livestock (e.g. troughs, drinking points and pumps). The priority area for this work is the River Esk and its tributaries upstream of Lealholm.


Simon Hirst, River Esk Project Officer
T: 01439 772700

Natural England - Catchment Sensitive Farming initiative through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme

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).