Work needs to be done on two rivers
Monday 23rd July 2012
At the beginning of this year, Northumberland Wildlife Trust received £70,000 from DEFRA and the Environment Agency to fund work on two rivers in South East Northumberland.
The Rivers Blyth and Lyne, which flow from Matfen to Blyth, have failed the European Union’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) which commits all European Union member states to achieving good quality water. The WFD sets standards to ensure its quality for humans to drink and as a habitat for fish.
The Trust has just received the results of the ‘walkover’ survey along the banks of the rivers which was undertaken by the Wild Trout Trust to identify the physical issues which may have caused the rivers to fail the inspection which may include river bank erosion, problems with weirs and culverts or livestock grazing in the rivers.
As expected, the report has raised a number of issues which will need be addressed in the forthcoming months; not only have the rivers been
over-deepened in places resulting in the reduction in the amount of gravel for fish to breed in, but there is also a lack of bank-side vegetation providing cover, food and shade, especially important for invertebrates such as mayfly, stoneflies and caddisflies which many fish and birds such as dipper, depend upon.
The Wild Trout Trust report also indicates that obstructions in the rivers are seriously affecting fish movements with populations becoming isolated which, in turn, affects their breeding cycles; should the fish manage to manoeuvre past the obstacles, large amounts of silt from surrounding areas has empted into the rivers and settled on the gravel and cobbles on the river bed affecting fish egg-laying and the availability of food for aquatic life.
Speaking about the reports findings. Steve Lowe, Head of Conservation
at Northumberland Wildlife Trust said: “We will be very busy over the forthcoming months meeting with stakeholders; land managers, angling clubs and community groups, to agree a priority action plan which will include tree planting to create bankside cover, fencing works to reduce siltation from stock, removal of structures and a wide programme to increase diversity in the rivers.”