The Wyre Habitat Creation Scheme (Completed January 2016) delivered a number of projects which are intended to rejuvenate degraded riparian habitat in the Lower and Mid Wyre Catchment. Riparian habitat was improved using fencing, tree planting and bank restoration works. The erection of fencing near watercourses prevented livestock from accessing the riparian zone. This is likely to lower the number of direct inputs of faecal matter thus lowering the numbers of faecal bacteria seen in watercourses and at the economically important bathing waters of the Fylde Coast. Fencing also prevents overgrazing of river banks, this will create ideal growing conditions for many species of plants. The increased plant cover will help stabilise banks, lowering the amount of fine sediment which enters watercourses. This will reduce turbidity in the watercourse and will therefore increase the number of faecal organisms which are killed by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The “buffer zones” which result will also reduce the amount of diffuse pollution which enters watercourses as surface flows of water which may contain faecal bacteria will be intercepted by the increased plant cover. Increases in terrestrial biodiversity will result, as flora and fauna will flourish in the ever improving habitat. Further to this buffer zones will act as habitat corridors allowing terrestrial species to move across the Wyre Catchment.
The improving habitat will also support riverine species. In particular migratory and non-migratory fish species such as Brown Trout (Salmo trutta), Sea Trout (Salmo trutta morpha trutta) and Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) these species will all benefit from improved water quality and cooler river temperatures that come as a result of the increased shade provided by newly planted trees.
Catchment Wise is a fund set up by United Utilities to help improve the health of the North West’s rivers. So far, it has given almost £700,000 in seed-funding and grants to eleven new charitable partnerships, each led by a catchment host organisation, which bring communities together to tackle pollution in our rivers and streams. Find out more using #catchmentwise.
Water Company United Utilities delivers the cleaned and treated waste of seven million people from Carlisle to Crewe safely back into the environment every day. Despite the advances in the performance of its own sewers and sewage treatment, the health of rivers will only continue to improve if other sources of pollution outside its control are tackled as well. Catchment Wise supports projects near United Utilities’ treatment works which connect local people, farmers and businesses to the impact the may be having on water quality.
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