A three year project has been developed to include practical habitat land management works and ecological monitoring run as a partnership project between Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.
The partnership has identified twelve sites along the corridors of the Don and Rother in Rotherham that will benefit from biodiversity habitat restoration and creation The project has been successful in funding applications to WREN Biodiversity Action Fund – who have awarded the project £226,929 over three years (September 2013 to October 2016), and Natural England who have awarded the project £13,880 for this year.
The project will enhance the ecological network in Rotherham and will achieve the following:
- Improve and create 94ha of Biodiversity Action Plan habitat
- Bring five Local Wildlife Sites into positive ecological management
- Improve water quality
- Reduce the extent of invasive plant species
- Increase the amount of quality ecological data
- Enhance visitor experiences by improving the quality of nature reserves and local sites
- Improve partnership working in the area and engage local site users
The Environment Agency has also funded research and feasibility studies into river bed and flow engineering to enhance ecological quality in one straightened section of the river. As a number of heavily modified sections exist within the water body it is hoped that actions from this initial study will demonstrate that positive change can be made without major re-alignment. The project partners have identified an additional 18 sites along the river corridors where biodiversity and water quality enhancement could be achieved and where development work will continue with landowners.
Dr Nicola Rivers, Living Landscape Development Manager of The Wildlife Trust for Sheffield and Rotherham, said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded the funding from WREN as it will allow us to start work on a whole range of habitats to diversify the river corridor environment. We will also be engaging the community in the project by asking volunteers if they would like to undertake ecological surveys and monitor our progress.”
The Rotherham Rivers Project was an accumulation of ideas; the Rotherham Biodiversity Forum suggested the River Rother as a multi-site project area and highlighted a number of sites that would benefit from inclusion. The preparation of a Rotherham Waterways Strategy on behalf of RMBC and EA coincided with the identification of the Wildlife Trust Living Don Living Landscape programme, both of which highlighted the rivers Rother and Don in Rotherham as key project areas.
Living Landscapes are the areas where The Wildlife Trusts are targeting landscape-scale conservation efforts to halt the decline of wildlife and restore the natural environment. The Living Don programme aims to bring about the pro-active management of the River Don catchment in South Yorkshire, to create a robust and ecologically functional green network from the high Moors of the Peak District to the floodplain of the Lower Don Valley and the heart of urban Sheffield and Rotherham. As the Living Don programme area is large, (40,000ha) the programme partnership has divided it into six areas, and to date the programme has successfully delivered biodiversity enhancement, public engagement and community stewardship work in areas of the Sheffield Moors and Western Valleys. The Rotherham Rivers area is the next priority.
For more information on this project, please contact Rob Miller on 0114 2634335 or firstname.lastname@example.org