Northumberland Wildlife Trust has received £70,000 from DEFRA and the Environment Agency to fund work on two rivers – the Lyne and the Blyth in South East Northumberland.
Both rivers have failed the European Union’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) which commits all European Union member states to achieving good quality water. The Water Framework Directive sets standards to ensure its quality for humans to drink and as a habitat for fish.
Northumberland Wildlife Trust is adopting a two-pronged approach to the project which will run throughout the whole of this year. Firstly, working closely the Wild Trout Trust, a team of conservation officers will undertake a ‘walkover’ survey along the river banks to identify the physical issues which caused the rivers to fail the inspection – these could include river bank erosion, problems with weirs and culverts or even livestock grazing into the river.
Once the causes have been identified, teams will work with local landowners, businesses and anglers and carry out a range of measures including planting trees, stabilizing river banks use using willow spiling techniques or the installation of fences to stop livestock wandering into the water.
This project links in with a Living Waterways Project, again funded by the Environment Agency, which is involved in the clean up of parts of Seaton Burn and Brierdene Burn in Newcastle and North Tyneside.
Steve Lowe, Head of Conservation at Northumberland Wildlife Trust said: “It is unfortunate that these rivers have failed the standard but luckily, the Environment Agency has been able to provide the funding to begin to correct what has caused the failure. As head of the conservation team, I am looking forward to working with landowners, angling clubs and communities to put things right.”
He continued: “We have a very good working relationship with the Environment Agency and the Living Waterways Project which works to combat flood alleviation in the Region, ties in very nicely with what we will be doing here.”