(Above) Crayfish in river © Sarah Williams (below) River after restoration work with live willow islands to vary flow & trap sediment © Sarah Williams
A conservation project that supports rivers and wetlands in Dorset has received a grant from Wessex Water’s biodiversity funding programme.
Dorset Wild Rivers, led by Dorset Wildlife Trust and FWAG South West, has been chosen as a project for phase five of the water company’s Partners Programme. Since 2010 Wessex Water and other partners including Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has helped the project restore wetland habitats along the Frome and Piddle Valleys and the chalk stream tributaries of the Stour Valley.
14km of river has been restored thanks to the funding
Sarah Williams, from Dorset Wild Rivers, said: “Over the past five years, the funding has helped us deliver a total of 14km of river restoration and plant more than 29 hectares of wet woodland. This has resulted in better habitats for species such as White Clawed Crayfish and post works surveys have shown that in just one section of restored river in Dorchester, the number of young brown trout has increased from 75 in 2011, to 113 in 2013.”
The next stage will help support the water environment in Dorset
The next stage of funding will help Dorset Wild Rivers continue its work for the next five years and will see the project deliver targeted restoration and recreation of habitat that supports the water environment in Dorset and also improves water quality and flood storage.
Clare Buckerfield, from FWAG South West, explains: “By linking up with water quality advisers we’ll be identifying gaps where there is currently little on-farm advice to help farmers minimise the risk of diffuse pollution from their commercially managed land as well as make improvements to habitats for better biodiversity.”
We will carry on working with local communities and landowners
Sarah Williams added: “The project will also carry on working together with local communities and other landowners to build a programme of works that continues to benefit our beautiful rivers. We want to join up restored rivers with well managed land to continue to protect the environment in Dorset for local wildlife.”
The Partners Programme, which provides financial support to develop projects that benefit the environment within the Wessex Water region, has helped more than 30 conservation projects.
The water quality in Dorset's rivers will continue to improve
Dave Jones, a regulatory scientist at Wessex Water, said: “The work delivered on Dorset Wild Rivers really benefits the local environment and also helps support the Poole Harbour and Dorset Stour catchment partnerships which we are helping to host. As we continue to invest to improve the water quality of Dorset’s rivers, the project will complement our work by playing an important part in helping to achieve the Water Framework Directive targets on these rivers.”
Find out more about the Dorset Wild Rivers project.