Fancy photographing Raptors With The Toons At Silverband ?

Few wildlife photographers have won so much praise for their work as Ann and Steve Toon. The active couple are conservation photographers famed particularly for their work with rhinos.

The husband and wife team will hold a Raptors Workshop Jun 26, Jul 31, Aug 7 in the Eden Valley, Cumbria. The Toons will team up with Silverband Falconry for what promises to be an amazing day of hawk and owl photography including Tawny , Barn , Snowy , European Eagle and Little Owls, also Kestrel, Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon and others, all for £120*.

Wild Open Eye - Natural Vision, News from Wild Open Eye

White rhinos, Ceratotherium simum, Hlane Royal National Park game reserve, Swaziland, Africa “Project African Rhino came about because we’ve been passionate about rhinos since the first time we saw them in the wild.” Ann and Steve Toon photo and copyright.

Wildopeneye talks with Ann and Steve Toon, founders of Project African Rhino about what makes them ‘click’. 

Images are all copyright Ann and Steve Toon.

Ann Toon photographing white rhino at Hlane game reserve, Swaziland Ann Toon photographing white rhino at Hlane game reserve, Swaziland

Wildopeneye first heard of the enterprising husband and wife photographic team via a promising news release on their Project African Rhino website and was immediately impressed by the Toons’ use of multimedia photojournalism to raise the profile of African Rhino conservation work.

You may well have seen and admired their work yourselves over recent years as their outstanding nature photographs have appeared in a variety of prestigious and influential magazines and other news media in service of environmental education. The award-winning pair sell images directly from their online data-base and via specialist agencies and…

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Atlantic Salmon Spawning Again In River Lyvennet

Children fishwatching in the River Lyvennet, Cumbria

Fish watchers on the banks of the Lyvennet river, Maulds Meaburn may now see Atlantic Salmon.

Local children designed the information signs beside Maulds Meaburn’s Salmon ladder at the Lyvennet Weir, and today’s news release from The Environment Agency (8th December 2014) will be greeted with excitement by young and old in the Eden Valley, Cumbria.

These Lyvennet trout, now share their river with Atlantic Salmon again.

These Lyvennet trout, now share their river with Atlantic Salmon again.

According to the release, over 20 Atlantic Salmon spawning sites or redds as they are known, were documented this week along the stretch of river that was improved by Eden Rivers Trust (ERT) earlier this year in a joint project to naturalise the course of the Lyvennet river.

This highly ambitious groundwork project restored straightened parts of the Lyvennet and Howe Beck back to a natural meandering state, for benefits to people and wildlife (See related article). The project is already reaping great success with over 20 salmon redds seen this week in the restored reach of the Lyvennet river at Maulds Meaburn.

The Atlantic Salmon had completed one of the most iconic migrations in the natural world, they travelled to the rich feeding grounds of Iceland and Greenland, before journeying some 3000 km home to the becks of their birth to become parents themselves!

The Lyvennet river channel was originally straightened for land management purposes and the increased energy in the river water leads to the river removing the smaller gravels necessary to support spawning. Furthermore, the lack of bends, associated scour and natural features, prevented the formation of vital pool and riffle habitats for a range of wildlife to thrive.

Reinstating the river back to its natural state has brought multiple benefits, including creating larger, diverse habitats for plants and animals to flourish. More natural, meandering rivers also help alleviate flood risk by slowing the flow of the river, and reducing bottle necks. This can delay both the height and timing of flood flows, benefiting communities downstream, without increasing flood risk upstream.

The Lyvennet scheme is part of a wider Cumbrian River Restoration Strategy that is tasked with restoring rivers back to a more natural condition, made possible by a partnership between the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Rivers Trusts across the county.
It is part of an ambitious package of significant restoration projects being delivered in the UK right now which all deliver improvements for ecology, habitat and local residents.

Charles Lowther, landowner at Barnskew and Meaburn Hall at Maulds Meaburn, said:

“Hopefully this scheme along with the other excellent work Eden Rivers Trust is doing will help reverse the trend of decline in spawning salmon in the river Eden.
“It has been amazing to see the river Lyvennet transformed in such a short space of time and to have evidence of spawning so soon after the restoration is fantastic news and confirmation that this improvement in habitat has measurable results.  We, the community in the area, are very proud of what ERT have achieved and wish to thank them very much.”

Simon Johnson, Director Eden Rivers Trust, said,

“The welcome return of spawning salmon to this section of restored river is wonderful news. Key to the success of the project has been the close co-operation and support we have received from farmers, landowners and partners.
However, we should remember that Eden salmon populations are in a state of decline. This project is part of ERT’s Saving Eden Strategy which will help to conserve this iconic species for future generations”.

Ben Bayliss, Environment Agency Programme Manager, said:

“It is fantastic news that following our river restoration project, already Atlantic Salmon have been recorded in the reach building redds.
However, while improving the river environment will help to improve salmon stocks, it is not enough on its own and we need to work together with anglers so we can review measures that would increase the number of salmon surviving to spawn.”

In early 2015, ERT will be organising a community tour of the restored reach of the Lyvennet including an opportunity to plant riverside trees. See www.edenriverstrust.org.uk for future announcements!

 

 

Celebration of clean water and slap up fish and chip feast in Shap

A ‘thank you’ do with a difference!

While it is normal for organisations to have an end of year celebration, 16 of the people who have volunteered to help Eden Rivers Trust in 2013 were given a rather unusual reward to end the year, a guided tour of Shap’s sewage works!

You might think that’s a bit of crappy place for a year-end get-together, but the Trust came up with the idea of the tour of the  works because they wanted to demonstrate the important role United Utilities plays in protecting the river.  Eden Rivers Trust is a charity concerned with the conservation of the River Eden and its miles of tributaries in the Eden Valley.  It relies heavily on volunteers to help with its work.  Volunteers have been involved in projects such as surveying for fish and crayfish, removing litter and invasive plants along rivers and planting trees along river banks.

Water quality is important in the Eden catchment and  Shap's new sewage works is exceptionally effective. The ERT group saw United Utilities’ state-of-the-art facilities in operation.

Water quality is important in the Eden catchment and Shap’s new sewage works is exceptionally effective. The ERT group saw United Utilities’ state-of-the-art facilities in operation.

United Utilities’ Christine Fleming said it was good to be able to show off the great work being done at Shap, which was fitted with some of the company’s most cutting-edge equipment – the membrane bio reactor (MBR).

“Shap has our only membrane bio reactor, this treats water to an extremely high standard. They’re not suitable everywhere, but it’s just what we need in Shap because the beck is particularly sensitive. We’re very proud of our plant and it was lovely to show how it works to people who share our concern for the environment,” she said.

Shap’s waste water treatment works were completely rebuilt in 2011 and reopened as the old plant was decommissioned.  Shap’s  new £13 million plant takes sewage and other waste water from the Shap area, treats it and, unlike conventional waste water treatment plants, filters the outflow through a fine membrane (equipment supplied by GE) to clean the water before it returns to Shap Beck, a tributary of the River Leith that in turn flows into the Eden, with sensitive freshwater ecology throughout. This cleaner water benefits wildlife and people.

In periods of heavy rainfall, the  plant catches the excess water that would otherwise overflow dangerous effluent into the beck, for storage in a large tank, before pumping it back to discharge safely through the MBR. 

United Utilities’ Christine Fleming said it was good to be able to show off the great work being done at Shap, which was fitted with some of the company’s most cutting-edge equipment – the membrane bio reactor (MBR) supplied by GE.

“Shap has our only membrane bio reactor, this treats water to an extremely high standard. They’re not suitable everywhere, but it’s just what we need in Shap because the beck is particularly sensitive. We’re very proud of our plant and it was lovely to show how it works to people who share our concern for the environment,” she said.

The volunteers enjoyed their very different reward and Dave Greaves, a student at Cumbria University who has helped the Trust with crayfish and fish surveys, said, “It was very interesting.  We are all “customers” of the waste water facilities but usually we never think about it!”

Joanne Backshall, Conservation Officer at Eden Rivers Trust, said, “We are so grateful to all the volunteers who have helped us this year and we wanted to give them a fun and informative outing as a thank you.  It was a fascinating visit and a real eye opener about what goes on.  There was also valuable information for us and the work we do in improving the rivers in the Eden Valley.”

The trip ended with a delicious meal at the Shap Chippy which the volunteers agreed lived up to its reputation as being one of the best in the county!

Eden Rivers Trust Volunteers celebrating a year of good conservation work at Shap's excellent Fish and Chip shop.

Eden Rivers Trust volunteers celebrating a year of good conservation work at Shap’s excellent Fish and Chip shop. Cleaner river water leads to  a healthier marine ecosystem that provides the Chippy’s succulent  fish.

You can find out more about Eden Rivers Trust from their website www.edenriverstrust.org.uk

You can read the Shap MBR case study on PDF by clicking here.

ERT is currently recruiting apprentices see article here

C. Paxton received no payment for this article.

Battle Against Invasive Species In Eden Valley Intensifies in 2013

Caldew School pupils clearing Himalayan balsam on the River Caldew at Dalston
Caldew School pupils clearing Himalayan balsam on the River Caldew at Dalston

(Source Eden Rivers Trust PR) A staggering 500 volunteers have spent more than 2000 hours helping Eden Rivers Trust battle against invading non-native species in the Eden Valley during 2013.  Without their help invaders such as signal crayfish and Himalayan balsam would go unchecked, causing problems for the animals and plants that naturally live in and alongside rivers and lakes.

In total the volunteers have contributed to:

  • clearing 16 miles (26 km) of riverbank and lake shore of balsam, along with 11.5 hectares (28 acres) of adjoining land;
  • managing 1100 m2 of newly discovered Japanese knotweed;
  • continuing the management of Japanese knotweed at sites managed in 2012;
  • removing 899 signal crayfish;
  • eradicating 300 giant hogweed plants which were sprayed, injected or dug up and composted.

The project has been funded by the Environment Agency and Natural England.

Paul Greaves, Invasive Species Officer at Eden Rivers Trust, said, “We are extremely grateful to all the volunteers involved because they have made a significant contribution to the conservation of the waterways and wildlife of the River Eden system.  We look forward to carrying on the good work in 2014!”

Many of the volunteers this year have been under 18 years old and it has been a fantastic opportunity for them to learn about invasive species and how they are introduced and transported.  They have also heard about the simple biosecurity steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of it happening.  As introduction is often through hitch hiking on equipment or clothes, when people move from one water body to another, the Checking Cleaning and Drying of equipment is essential to minimise the risk of carrying seeds, plant fragments or animals themselves to areas that they shouldn’t be taken.

Are you spreading invasive species via your water sports equipment and clothing? Invasive species can affect fish and other wildlife, restrict navigation, clog up propellers and be costly to manage. You can help protect the water sports you love by following three simple steps when you leave the water. Check, Clean and Dry your equipment before you visit the next body of water.
Are you spreading invasive species via your water sports equipment and clothing?
Invasive species can affect fish and other wildlife, restrict navigation, clog up propellers
and be costly to manage. You can help protect the water sports you love by following
three simple steps when you leave the water. Check, Clean and Dry your equipment before you visit the next body of water.

invasive_species_poster

Not all invasive species are introduced unintentionally.  Some are still sold in garden centres and escape from the gardens where they are planted.  One such plant is American skunk cabbage which has a large yellow flower, a pungent smell and can dominate wet boggy areas.  This plant has been identified in several areas locally this year and chemical treatment has been carried out to prevent it taking over, as it has done in other parts of the UK.

People are asked to bear this in mind when next buying plants for their garden or pond.  If any advice is required they can get in touch with the Trust or look at the “Be Plant Wise” campaign on the internet.

More Pictures

Riverside vegetation before members of the Rock Youth Project from Carlisle removing the invasive plant Himalayan balsam along the Eden at Lazonby
Riverside vegetation before members of the Rock Youth Project from Carlisle removing the invasive plant Himalayan balsam along the Eden at Lazonby

Before (above) and after (below) photos showing members of the Rock Youth Project from Carlisle removing the invasive plant Himalayan balsam along the Eden at Lazonby.

The same area along the Eden at Lazonby, after members of the Rock Youth Project from Carlisle had removed the invasive plant Himalayan balsam
The same area along the Eden at Lazonby, after members of the Rock Youth Project from Carlisle had removed the invasive plant Himalayan balsam

 

Kirkoswald Guides clearing Himalayan balsam along the River Eden at Lazonby
Kirkoswald Guides clearing Himalayan balsam along the River Eden at Lazonby
Another view of Kirkoswald Guides clearing Himalayan balsam along the River Eden at Lazonby
Another view of Kirkoswald Guides clearing Himalayan balsam along the River Eden at Lazonby
Inspira summer youth programme clearing Himalayan balsam along the River Caldew at Cummersdale Holmes, Carlisle
Inspira summer youth programme clearing Himalayan balsam along the River Caldew at Cummersdale Holmes, Carlisle
Blue Badge Tourist Guides removing Himalayan along the River Eden near Ousenstand Bridge, with giant hogweed in the foreground
Blue Badge Tourist Guides removing Himalayan along the River Eden near Ousenstand Bridge, with giant hogweed in the foreground

 The Trust relies on fund raising and grants to carry out this vital work.  It needs sponsorship and donations from individuals and businesses.  People can donate, become a Friend of Eden Rivers Trust or volunteer.

Contact details for the Trust are Eden Rivers Trust, Dunmail Building, Newton Rigg College, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0AH, tel:  01768 866788 or email: office@edenriverstrust.org.

Further information on Eden Rivers Trust is available at www.edenriverstrust.org.uk.

Click below to download

Eden Rivers Trust Newletter Winter 2013

ERTrust A4 1pp Donation Form

Meanders added to River Leith in Eden Rivers Restoration Project

 

Digging the new channel at Thrimby Hall

Waitings digging the new channel in the Leith river at Thrimby Hall near Penrith

According to an Oct. 1st press release from Eden Rivers Trust, a major restoration project to reverse historic straightening and widening and return the river to a more natural state has started on the River Leith near Penrith in Cumbria. The work is being managed by the trust in partnership with the tenant farmer, the land owner, the Environment Agency and Natural England as part of the River Eden River Restoration Project.

Eden Rivers Trust is a charity dedicated to conserving the beautiful River Eden in Cumbria and its hundreds of miles of tributaries. The river system is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest classed by Europe as a Special Area of Conservation. Since its establishment in 1996 the Trust has completed over 200 projects to improve the condition of the river for its wildlife and for people to enjoy. Eden Wildlife Trust works with volunteers, farmers and  landowners to help achieve the most environmentally-friendly land management for the river. Staff from the trust also conduct environmental education, meeting more than 10,000 people, half of them pupils from 50 different schools.

Local company Waitings have been awarded the contract to excavate a new winding river channel on land at Thrimby Hall, Little Strickland, just south of Penrith.  The first phase of work will involve digging out the old river channel, adjacent to the straightened section of the River Leith where it runs alongside the railway line.  The river will then be diverted into the restored channel next summer.  The impact upon river wildlife will be minimised by diverting the channel gradually, with fish transferred from the old channel to the new one.

Pair of Bullheads in a Cumbrian river

The restoration work will help improve conditions for fish such as these Bullheads. They are native freshwater gobioid fish also known as ‘Miller’s Thumbs’.

The work is being undertaken to reinstate a more natural gradient and meandering channel to the river. Meanders are beneficial because they slow the flow of the river and alter the way it moves stones, gravel and silt along its length.  This will recreate a variety of features that are currently lacking from the straightened river.  Examples include pools capable of supporting larger fish, shallow margins where freshwater plants can establish, shingle banks which are important for insects, and gravel beds where fish can lay their eggs.  This diversity supports a much wider variety of insects, fish and other wildlife than man-made channels.  Examples of animals which will benefit from this scheme include salmon, trout, bullheads, stone loach, otters, kingfishers and dippers.

Kingfisher, photo and copyright Eden Rivers Trust

Kingfisher, photo and copyright Eden Rivers Trust

Artificially straightened, widened and deepened channels make the river flow faster and can lead to greater erosion and flooding downstream.  This work will tackle these issues on the River Leith by re-creating natural meanders that help slow down the flow of the river, benefitting local wildlife and people.

Eden Rivers Trust Project Officer Gareth Pedley said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to allow the river to function more naturally with significant benefits for wildlife and people.  We hope that we can continue this type of work in future years in different areas of the Eden and its tributaries, working with a variety of land owners and organisations interested in the river.”

Oliver Southgate, Project Manager for the Environment Agency, said: “We are delighted to be helping drive a project which will help restore the River Leith to its former glory, boosting biodiversity in the process for the benefit of generations to come.”

 

An Eden brown trout, photo and copyright John Stock

An Eden brown trout, photo and copyright John Stock

Through this project, the land owner is gaining environmental benefits such as entry into an Environmental Stewardship Scheme Higher Level agreement, more stable river banks with less erosion, and new riverside fencing and trees.  Richard Gordon who farms at Thrimby Hall is very enthusiastic about the plans to restore the River Leith where it flows across his land.  He said, “I am supportive of this project because it will help return the river to what it once was, and I would like my own children to see and enjoy it that way.  The partnership between Eden Rivers Trust, the Environment Agency and Natural England has enabled it all to happen.”

A further restoration project will begin later in the year on the River Lyvennet near Maulds Meaburn.

Otter. Photo and copyright Eden Rivers Trust

Otter. Photo and copyright Eden Rivers Trust. 

Further information on Eden Rivers Trust is available at www.edenriverstrust.org.uk.  They welcome new volunteers and supporters.

Lots of Opportunity to Help Eden Rivers, Eden Rivers Trust Charity Auction Catalogue Now Available

Cover of Eden Rivers Trust Auction Catalogue

Cover of Eden Rivers Trust Auction Catalogue

Open the Eden Rivers Trust  2013 auction catalogue and you’ll find outstanding artwork, stunning sculptures, fishing and shooting excursions, exclusive tours and even a nocturnal exploration with a bat expert are on offer in aid of the trust’s valuable work. In all there are 65 remarkable opportunities detailed within, and you can be certain that each lot helps raise money for the scientific research, education and conservation work of Eden Rivers Trust (ERT). The trust manages research, education and conservation projects along the 200 km of lovely waterways in the Eden river system , spreading awareness and protecting some of Britain’s loveliest natural environments.

The current economic climate is a challenging fundraising environment for charitable trusts and Eden Rivers Trust is taking an imaginative and engaging approach to their fund raising with their 2013 charitable auction in the hope that all those taking part in the bidding will do so generously.  Supporters and sponsors of the trust have certainly been generous in offering attractive and valuable lots for the auction. It’s worth looking through the catalogue just to see the superb opportunities that the kind supporters in Eden have offered in support of the trust.

If you click on this link: ERT 2013 Auction Catalogue you’ll open the Eden Rivers Trust Auction Catalogue for 2013.  Right click on it and select the ‘Save as’ option to download it to a folder of your choice.

Do the same again to access the introductory letter from ERT’s Director Simon Johnson. Letter to accompany 2013 catalogue

Within the catalogue, you’ll find 65 amazing lots, few are available via any other means. You’ll find full details of how bids can be submitted and the terms and conditions of participation on page 1 of the catalogue.

If you are lucky enough to be one of the winning bidders you will not only get something of great value in and of itself, but you’ll also be contributing to the important conservation and education work of the trust , thus making a significant impact in preserving and enhancing our superb riparian environments.

 For more information about the valuable work Eden Rivers Trust perform please see their website http://trust.edenriverstrust.org.uk/

Rural Cumbria Connects Launches Community Purchase Scheme For Renewable Heating

Rural Cumbria Connects logo

For Original Press Release Click Here

Forty rural homes off the gas grid are to benefit from support grants from Energy Savings Trust (EST) for renewable biomass and solar water heating technologies  in a new community purchase scheme unique to Cumbria, run by Rural Cumbria Connects. 

Environmental education at Low Luckens Organic Resource Centre www.lowluckensfarm.co.uk

Environmental education at Low Luckens Organic Resource Centre www.lowluckensfarm.co.uk

Established for community benefit, Rural Cumbria Connects is managed by Simon Sjenitzer and Hazel Broatch of Low Lucans Organic Research Centre (LLORC). Low Luckens Organic Resource Centre was founded in 2000 as an Industrial & Provident Society based on 220 acres of organic farmland, ancient woodland and river not far from Carlisle.  LLORC works to promote sustainable farming, local healthy food and the countryside to visitors of all ages and abilities. Renewable heating is an important element of sustainable living in rural and urban areas alike, but it’s adoption in rural homes that are off the gas grid is seen as particularly important, not just in the reduction of carbon emissions from fossil fuels, but also in lowering heating costs, improving heating efficiency and quality of life.

The technologies supported in this initiative are Biomass boilers and Solar Thermal water heating systems and Rural Cumbria Connects has successfully arranged support funding from Energy Savings Trust that is significantly better than the Premium Payments previously available for householders. Under the community purchase terms the forty owner occupiers can get grants of £3000 towards biomass boiler installations , and £700 towards solar thermal panels, installed alone or in combination.  According to its website,

“the Energy Savings Trust serves communities and households by giving impartial, independent and accurate advice on carbon emissions reduction, saving water, reducing energy bills and developing sustainable sources of energy.”

Simon Sjenitzer, Chairman of LLORC said “The scheme is unique and has shown what can be achieved by community organisations across Cumbria working together. We have been successful in securing over £100,000 in grants (through The Energy Savings Trust) for homeowners across Cumbria who are dependent on oil, LPG, and coal for heating their homes.” He went on to explain that the homeowners will receive their grants direct from the Government after they have installed one of the identified technologies. “Community purchasing of these technologies is expected to benefit customers and suppliers, create jobs and further encourage the developing fuel-wood supply-chain locally. There is an anticipated depth of benefit that transcends efficient home heating, free of fossil fuels.”

The UK has committed to improving energy efficiency in domestic properties and has identified rural properties in areas that are not on the gas grid as good candidates for renewable heat technologies.

Carl Bendelow, Projects Co-ordinator for Heart of Eden Development Trust has been instrumental in advancing  several environmental energy projects with the Heart of Eden, including a successful Solar Photovoltaic installation and in-depth research into the feasibility of a micro-hydro electric project in the Eden. Carl said “The Heart of Eden Development Trust has an ongoing interest in promoting sustainable energy and so we’re very pleased to help rural homes switch to renewable heating. The uptake has been enthusiastic and the response shows that there’s a clear need and that our work has been worthwhile.”

Biomass boiler , Windhager LogWin, and insulated water tank installed by Logic . Photo Copyright LOGIC Renewables.

Biomass boiler , Windhager LogWin, and insulated water tank installed by Logic .
Photo Copyright LOGIC Renewables.

Many people that Heart of Eden contacted about the RCC scheme have expressed interest in biomass boilers and solar thermal panels. In the face of rising fossil fuel prices and fuel poverty, switching to Biomass has attractive benefits going forward:

  • Pellets are about half the price of oil per kWh, can be bulk purchased and fed automatically from storage hoppers.

  • The government rewards users under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme (those who receive grants under this scheme will still be able to take part in the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive when it is introduced).

  • The fuel can be produced in Cumbria and surrounds, supporting local producers and reducing our dependence upon imported fuel so reducing the carbon emissions involved in “fuel miles”, and assisting local employment.

  •  The fuel itself emits carbon from this current phase of the carbon cycle, not from past atmospheres, and is clean burning leaving a fine ash suitable for enriching gardens and sweetening acid soil. If not burnt, vegetable matter will emit carbon dioxide in the natural course of its decomposition.

For more information about Biomass heating please see LOGIC’s biomass web page and Case studies pages

Solar Thermal systems specifically assist water heating. Serving best in summer months, they require little maintenance and can contribute up to 60% of domestic annual hot water supply. More information on Solar Thermal from LOGIC’s site

LOGIC Renewables has been selected as the the preferred installer for the projects and will be installing systems over the next three months. LOGIC was selected by Rural Cumbria Connects for their experience in renewable technology installations (see Case studies) for being a local employer and investor in skills development and for their professional practice of using only industry registered and certified, CRB checked engineers with uniforms, marked vans, equipped with PDAs for independent communication with their Headquarters on Appleby’s Cross Croft Industrial Estate. LOGIC’s capability of servicing the installations and 24 hr emergency call-out also make the firm a good choice .

Kevin Hall of LOGIC Renewables said “We are very proud to be installers for Rural Cumbria Connects. Community group purchasing for renewable heating should make it accessible to more people and will also help local employment.” He went on to say “LOGIC has put renewables into community buildings, farms, hotels and residential properties. Biomass and Solar Thermal are good reliable technologies. ”

The community groups and LLORC are maintaining a reserve list for later submissions. So home owners who complete and submit the Expression of Interest (EOI) form (To download,  click here to access the page) will have their interest registered and may yet be included in the event of any households dropping out, or if further funds become available. For more information on Rural Cumbria Connects please contact Hazel Broatch on 016977 48860 or Simon Sjenitzer 07796 763 816

LOGIC Renewables van outside the offices and showroom, no.6 Cross Croft Industrial estate, Appleby-in-Westmorland

LOGIC Renewables van outside the offices and showroom, no.6 Cross Croft Industrial estate, Appleby-in-Westmorland

For more information about LOGIC renewables contact:
Dave McGuiggan Renewables Manager   01228 59 8000
and view Logic’s website    http://www.logic-group.co.uk

Heart of Eden
HoE has been keenly engaged in important social infrastructure and environment and development work in the Appleby area of Westmorland.

They worked on a feasibility study for a hydro electricity generation plant at Bongate weir, Appleby, Solar Photo Voltaic systems on village halls with Big Society funding, a survey of energy use in the HoE communities (the SEE study) and a DECC LEAF study for the creation of an energy node at Kirkby Thore. For more information please view the HoE website.

http://www.heartofeden.co.uk

Or contact

Carl Bendelow
Project Development Officer
Heart of Eden Development Trust www.ApplebyBusinessCentre.co.uk Appleby Cumbria CA16 6QH

In Praise of Eden Rivers Trust and Partners for Crayfish Conservation, Cherish Eden, Riparian Fisheries Planning, Flood Alleviation and More!

Native White-Clawed Crayfish Ede

Eden Rivers Trust Winter Newsletter edition 26 from www.edenriverstrust.org.uk

Eden Rivers Trust Winter Newsletter edition 26 from http://www.edenriverstrust.org.uk

The Winter edition of The Eden Rivers Trust Newsletter is out now and it relates how Eden Rivers Trust staff and local volunteers are engaging with important projects that protect riparian habitat, its wildlife and community interests in the Eden Valley’s river catchment area,  clicking the image on the left will download their latest newsletter. Since its establishment in 1996, ERT has completed 200 projects to improve the condition of the river for its wildlife and for people’s enjoyment.

The ERT’s Winter Newsletter announces the great news that a £473,618 Defra grant will empower them to further improve the condition of rivers in the Eden River catchment and so improve the prospects for our native white-clawed crayfish, sadly threatened and declining across the UK and Western Europe. ERT is working effectively with a range of volunteers and key partner organisations on the front lines of river conservation to protect the river system in our internationally recognised Special Area of Conservation.

The new grant follows the ERT’s successful completion of a SITA Trust conservation project in the Appleby area.

According to an ERT press release issued today (17th Dec), Eden Rivers Trust staff in partnership with The SITA Trust and volunteers of varied ages and walks of life, have just completed a three year, £138,000 conservation project, working in two Cumbrian rivers, the Hoff and Helm Becks near Appleby, for the benefit of native crayfish and other wildlife and all who appreciate them.

Achievements in this project include:

  • 8329 m of riverside fencing established to protect the banks from farm animals;
  • 5350 trees have been planted along rivers to stabilise river banks and provide food and hiding places for wildlife;
  • 214 sites were surveyed for native crayfish, with the help of 77 volunteers;
  • 5 crayfish survey training days held, attended by 61 volunteers;
  • 3871 people have been told about the plight of native crayfish in Cumbria by the Trust attending 40 events and giving 56 talks to local groups;
  • 2 Cumbria University undergraduates completed their conservation projects on crayfish and received a First Class mark for them.

Volunteering for rivers and their wildlife

The Trust expressed their profound gratitude to all the volunteers for their time and effort, and to all the land owners for allowing surveys to take place. Volunteers engaged in the project have have ranged from retired people interested in the river, to local anglers and staff from businesses such as Ullswater Steamer Company, Barclays Bank and the Outward Bound Trust  to pupils from QEGS Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith and students from Cumbria University and other universities.

Joanne Backshall, Conservation Officer with Eden Rivers Trust, said, “This amazing creature is threatened with extinction.  Improving the rivers in the county for crayfish will benefit not only this endangered species but all the wildlife associated with rivers.  Healthy, attractive rivers are also of benefit to people in providing clean water supplies and creating beautiful landscapes for locals and visitors to enjoy.  We are grateful to SITA Trust for their financial support for this very valuable conservation project.”

The Hoff and Helm Becks project has been funded by SITA Trust, an organisation which supports worthy environmental and social projects improving vital public recreation facilities such as village halls, community centres, sport, green spaces and play areas, through the Landfill Communities Fund. The LCF has donated over £1 billion to date and powerfully helped the nation.  The LCF distributes funds donated by the recycling and resource management company SITA UK, as of writing the SITA Trust have donated over £92 million, helping 3000 projects through the fund!

Jools Granville of SITA Trust said, “This has been an amazing project with some serious benefits and we are so proud to be a partner in it. We have been humbled by the hard work and dedication of Eden Rivers Trust and the many volunteers, landowners and members of the public who have come together to work towards a more sustainable future for this fantastic and seriously endangered species. Cumbria is such an important location for these crayfish and it’s vital that the good work already undertaken is built upon in the future. ”

The ERT Winter Newsletter tells us that this is precisely what will happen and more besides! Here’s a glimpse of the content:

  • Water Friendly Farming  The Trust is working with farmers to benefit farms and the environment, acting as a buffer between farmers and legislation in partnerships for water quality (To date the ERT has worked with about 200 farms)
  • Miles of progress in battle against invasive species The Trust is battling against powerful invasive species such as Himalayan Balsam, Japanese Knotweed and the poisonous Giant Hogweed to protect our local species and prevent degradation of habitat. The useful work around Ullswater features in this edition.
  • Adapting Land use for Flood Alleviation Increasingly important work in collaboration with Newton Rigg College to slow water run-off into the rivers helping to reduce flooding by introducing a variety of techniques. (To date the ERT has planted 200 farms)
  • Cherish Eden Initial support of over £100,000 in Heritage Lottery Funding has been won in the first phase, spearheading  a potentially larger project.
  • Eden charity bike ride A fundraising team including local residents rode the entire length of the Eden to raise money for Eden House Children’s Hospice!

and …

White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes), native to the UK, held by Conservation Officer Joanne Backshall.

Precious and vulnerable, the White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes), native to the UK, carefully held by Conservation Officer Joanne Backshall. Linda Pitkin Photo

Endangered Native Crayfish Conservation

Eden Rivers Trust tell us that the native, white-clawed crayfish is endangered and rapidly declining across Western Europe.  It is being wiped out by non-native species of crayfish, particularly the North American signal crayfish, and the disease they carry, crayfish plague, which is caused by a fungus.  Native crayfish are also disappearing because many of the rivers in which they occur do not have the right conditions for them to feed, breed and thrive.

Cumbria contains the UK’s only extensive populations of White-Clawed Crayfish with neither a plague infestation, nor the presence of non-native signal crayfish.  The most important of these are in the Rivers Eden and Kent.  Cumbria is vital in a European context because it remains the UK stronghold for the native species according to ERT.

You can learn more about this endangered species on the Eden River Trust’s dedicated white-clawed crayfish page. The site also provides guidance on how to avoid spreading Crayfish Plague from one river to another. We have to be wary of this because the Signal Crayfish have invaded The River Derwent.

These very fine pictures and others taken by Linda Pitkin, including some lovely split views showing river scenes above and below the water line, can be viewed on her Eden Rivers web page http://www.lindapitkin.net/Eden_Rivers/index.html

Native Crayfish by Linda Pitkin

Note the underside of the claws are white. Native White-Clawed Crayfish in river bed habitat by Linda Pitkin

Readers interested in The Eden Rivers Trust and its work, and potential volunteers and donors are invited to contact the Eden Rivers Trust, Dunmail Building, Newton Rigg College, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0AH
Tel: 01768 866788 | e-mail: office@edenrt.org  | www.edenriverstrust.org.uk
Registered Charity Number 1123588 Company limited by guarantee number 06460807

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