Restoration of wet woodland habitat moves ahead

by | Oct 22, 2014 | Featured Slider, News

WORK to restore wet woodland habitat in an area near Silsden has been completed as part of an ongoing project along the Upper Aire floodplains.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has been working on several sites to restore the declining habitat which is valuable for wildlife such as otters and the endangered willow tits.

A team from Bradford-based Yorkshire Water joined forces with the trust to help install fencing and plant trees at Steeton Ings near Silsden, which was completed last week.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust began the Upper Aire Floodplains project, funded by SITA Trust, last September, with the aim of increasing wet woodland in Otterburn, Silsden, Marley and Bingley. The Yorkshire Water team first got involved at the beginning of the project helping to put in fencing at Otterburn near Malham. The area was subsequently planted with trees, so the fencing has helped to prevent livestock from grazing the new shoots and will allow the trees to establish.

Yorkshire Water joined Yorkshire Wildlife Trust again last week as work came to an end on the Steeton Ings site. They worked hard to complete more fencing, this time along the riverbank so as to protect it from cattle, which can degrade the riverbanks and cause them to collapse.

Don Vine, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s conservation officer overseeing the project, said: “It was great to have the team from Yorkshire Water back out to help finish the fencing work at Steeton Ings. The team realise the importance of our work in improving the water quality of our streams and rivers, by reducing soil erosion.

“Wildlife will also benefit, as species who depend on wetland and woodland habitat take shelter and find food in these spots.”

Anne Reed, corporate responsibility, education and volunteering advisor for Yorkshire Water, said: “Taking care of the environment is something we are committed to as a company, so opportunities to help organisations like Yorkshire Wildlife Trust are really important to us. Their work to increase wet woodland habitat is vital for wildlife and the fencing work we were able to assist them with will also help to protect water quality, so it’s a perfect collaboration for the two of us.”

 In total the four-year project by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust hopes to restore and reintroduce new wet woodland habitat along a 20 mile stretch of the River Aire in North and West Yorkshire. In addition to creating valuable habitat for wildlife, wet woodlands also help reduce the risk of flooding in towns and villages downstream, as they slow down water flow and store water in ponds, scrapes and channels.
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