Tackling pollution, rescuing fish, reducing flood risk and saving endangered species – it’s all in a year’s work for growing Keswick-based environmental charity West Cumbria Rivers Trust.
In 2018 the Trust, supported by a large team of volunteers, planted over 5000 trees, relocated fish to safety on 27 construction sites, stabilised 1.4 km of eroding river bank using natural materials, treated vast areas to remove invasive plant species and fenced over 10 km of riverbank to keep out livestock and improve water quality.
The year also saw the Trust undertake its biggest project to date, removing Ennerdale Mill weir, a barrier to fish movement, in partnership with the Environment Agency.
Trust Director, Jodie Mills said: “The health of our rivers and lakes is important to us all. Our work would not be possible without the support we’ve had from landowners, farmers, funders and partner organisations. A huge thank you goes to them and to our amazing volunteers who gave 3095 hours of their time in 2018.”
“2019 is shaping up to be another great year with some exciting projects in the pipeline. We’d love for more local people to join our ‘River Watchers’ volunteer group and help us achieve even more this year.”
The charity, soon to be celebrating its tenth year, continues to go from strength to strength. In 2018 the team grew to 16 members of staff, covering West Cumbria from Solway estuary in the north to Bootle village on the River Annas in the south.
Work in 2019 will include Natural Flood Management – managing the landscape to reduce flood risk. Staff have been busy developing five new projects in the Cocker, Glenderamackin, Bootle, Dovenby and Flimby and delivery on the ground is getting underway – twenty-six ‘leaky dams’ which are used to moderate water flow have been installed already and much more is planned.
Alongside practical improvements to the environment, the Trust promotes awareness and understanding of rivers and lakes. In 2018 the team held or attended 159 community events and worked with 950 school children.
Anyone interested in helping West Cumbria Rivers Trust can find out more at www.westcumbriariverstrust.org or by dropping in to 32 Lake Road, Keswick.