The 2016 RRC Conference Site Visit

At the end of January I went up to Blackpool to look at the site visit for the 2016 RRC Annual Conference. The visit was also a good opportunity to see what other work the Wyre Catchment Partnership have been doing and have planned for the future.

Thomas Myerscough from the Wyre Rivers Trust was my guide for the day. He has been at the Trust for 2 years and has been involved in many projects across the catchment. One of these projects is the Wyre Riparian Restoration Initiative (CPAF Project) at Ambrose Farm, the site which delegates will visit during the 17th RRC Annual Network Conference.

Issues on this site are a characteristic of many agricultural sites across the UK. These include diffuse pollution from adjacent fields, bank poaching, erosion and channel realignment.  The Catchment Partnership Action Fund (CPAF) has provided the Wyre Catchment Partnership with the funds to address some of these issues.

The works are set to go ahead at some time this month, they will include:

  • 1,200 metres of stock proof fencing
  • 2 bank restoration interventions
  • 1 Crossing point improvement
  • 1 Interpretation panel (Subject to landowner permission)

The success of these works will be key in securing the confidence of future funders and landowners. The Wyre Rivers Trust is working with a student from Lancaster University who is regularly monitoring the site. The information that is being gathered will help the Catchment Partnership evaluate and share the success of the project.

Recently, a series of Catchment Partnership Workshops facilitated by the RRC, Environment Agency and CaBA addressed objective setting and project monitoring. The workshops were also a good opportunity for the Catchment Partnerships to provide feedback on CPAF and the support they receive from the RRC and CaBA. Some of the discussions from the workshops will form part of the RRC conference site visit, where there will be representatives from the partnership, Environment Agency and hopefully the landowners.

After visiting the CPAF site, we had a look at previous work that has been done in the Wyre Catchment. The Scorton Habitat Scheme was completed in 2015 with funding from the Lancashire Environmental Fund. Over 1,500m of fencing was installed, creating large buffer strips with 1,600 trees planted within them. The project also installed an alternative drinking point for cattle and an interpretation panel to communicate the project aims to walkers along the millennium way.

Scorton Habitat Scheme: One of the Wyre Rivers Trust's previous projects

So far the scheme has been a success, the Trust is regularly going back to monitor it’s progress and the benefits of the buffer strips will become apparent in the next few years. There has been some flood damage from winter high flows and the Trust are currently working with the land owner to address this.

The day with Tom was a great chance for me to get an idea of the excellent work that smaller Trusts undertake and the challenges that they face as well as the interaction they have with their partners within the Catchment Partnership. Some of our site visits are to large scale projects with a lot of money to spend and many years to deliver a project. However, the current reality is that many projects now have limited funding and need to be delivered in a short timescale. This entails significant challenges for newly formed partnerships and should provide some engaging discussion on the 27th April when we will be visiting.

Come along and see the challenges for yourself and give your views and experience to help Tom and the Trust manage work on the Wyre.

RRC Conference Booking

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