Natural Course hosts EU monitor visit
On 15th May, the EU LIFE Programme monitor visited the Natural Course project to get an update on progress and visit some project sites.
After a general update on project outcomes and plans for the future, the team took the monitor to visit the SuDS project developed by United Utilities and Business in the Community at Moorlands Junior School. The school has implemented 3 different types of Sustainable Urban Drainage Solutions (SuDS) and is now a demonstration site to show other schools in the area the savings that can be made and the community and educational benefits received by the school. (Read more about this project here.)
The team then took the monitor to visit the Oakenshaw weir by-pass developed by Ribble Rivers Trust. The River Hyndburn had suffered from significant impacts of historic pollution and surveys found juvenile salmon at the foot of the weir but not above. As part of the catchment plan, this weir was prioritised as a barrier for fish migration. With help from Natural Course funding, a by-pass channel was created to help improve fish migration on the river. Not only this but trees were planted to surround the bypass and create more habitats for nature. The area is undergoing further development and is proving to be a real community asset.
On the second day, the team took the monitor to visit South Cumbria Rivers Trust and were taken to visit a fencing project which will contribute to the Coniston and Crake catchment management plan. Since 2014 Coniston Water has seen a decline in condition from ‘Good’ to ‘Moderate’ under the Water Framework Directive classifications, attributed to a variety of factors. Furthermore, it is a popular tourist destination with ever increasing numbers putting the environment a greater risk. The fencing that has been implemented on the Langholme and Foundry Beck will help to reduce diffuse sediment inputs and improve ecological conditions within the watercourse. By fencing off the beck to livestock and removing harvesting operations from the area, a buffer strip will develop, capturing agricultural runoff, improving soil structure and generation of riverbank habitat for a range of species. Monitoring will take place throughout the project to assess the impact of the improvements made including soil infiltration rates and compaction, small mammal and insect colonisation and sediment migration analysis of the watercourse.