Wet woodland habitat sites around the River Aire and its tributaries.

From today’s Yorkshire Post

RARE wet woodland habitats are to be created at five Yorkshire sites to encourage insects, plants and animals to thrive,

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust received £35,366 from SITA Trust to create and manage uncommon wet woodland habitat sites around the River Aire and its tributaries.

Wet woodland habitat supports a large number of insects, specifically beetles, many of which are rare in the UK.

Plants such as the bright yellow flowering marsh marigold thrive in this habitat and birds including lesser-spotted woodpecker, willow tit and siskin all make their home in it.

Vital cover and breeding areas for mammals such as otters can be provided and numerous bat species are often found in good wet woodland habitat.

The Upper Aire Floodplain project will work across five sites including two in Otterburn, in Craven, one in Steeton Ings near Silsden, one at Marley, near Keighley, and one at Ryeloaf Meadows near Bingley.

Work will include tree 
planting in some areas, which 
are then fenced off to prevent grazing.

Wetland areas will also be created, in particular at Ryeloaf, by the digging of shallow ‘scrapes’ (pools) and channels.

At Marley and Ryeloaf, areas of willow will be restructured using traditional woodland management practices of coppicing (cut back to ground level to stimulate growth) and pollarding (top of branches cut off to stimulate new growth at the top).

The new habitat should also help prevent flooding in the urban areas of the upper Aire valley.

Don Vine, of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “The SITA Trust funding is enabling Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to create more of what is a declining, but incredibly important habitat.

“Wet woodland, which is sometimes referred to as carr woodland, has dried up in many parts of the UK as a result of draining for agriculture and water abstraction drying up rivers.”

Rodley Weir and Fish Pass

Rodley Fish Pass Upstream View R Rodley Fish Pass EntranceI thought you might be interested to see these photos of Rodley Fish Pass now that it has been officially opened. Yorkshire Water and their consultants ARUP have done a good job on this. YW will be monitoring the efficiency of the pass by electronic tagging of some captured fish. The tags will then be traced and the fish followed through the pass by receiving devices on the posts at the side of the fish pass.

Brown trout are usually seen attempting (and failing) to ascend the Rodley Weir in October / November. If none are seen this year, it will mean that the fish are finding the pass, swimming up through it and bypassing the weir.

UPDATE

NEW ENVIRONMENTAL improvements have been completed to help save wildlife at a popular Leeds nature reserve.

The Rodley Weir bypass on the River Aire, close to Rodley Nature Reserve, has been designed to allow fish to swim around the weir and upstream so they can search for new habitats.

Previously, the weir formed a man-made barrier which prevented fish moving up the river.

Solar powered detectors around the site will also track the fish as they go through the new bypass.

The number of fish living in the River Aire has recently risen thanks to modern water treatment processes and better pollution controls.

The river is now home to a large number of salmon, trout, eels and lampreys.

Dave Nesham, trustee director of Rodley Nature Reserve, said: “We were delighted to work on such an important project.

“Anything that further improves biodiversity in the area can only be a good thing.”

Mr Nesham added: “We’ll be taking accompanied tours down to see the pass, with the hope being that we’ll see plenty of fish using it.”

The work was carried out earlier this year by Yorkshire Water’s partner MMB.

The river bypass work was supported by a grant from the Environment Agency.

Neil Trudgill, from the Environment Agency, said: “The fish bypass at Rodley is an essential step in the recovery of the river’s fish populations.

“The naturalised design will provide a passage around the weir as well as a habitat in which fish and other aquatic life can actually live, feed and grow.”