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Work starts to restore beck in Pickering UK

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Work starts today (Monday) to restore a North Yorkshire beck back to a more natural state, to improve the habitat for wildlife.

The beck has been prioritised as in need of work because, while the quality of water in the beck is good, it does not have the amount of fish and other species it should have.

Costa Beck, which is fed by natural underground springs, runs west of Pickering and has been heavily engineered in the past to straighten, deepen and widen the channel to help with drainage and flood risk. This engineering has significantly reduced the beck’s value for wildlife.  

Around one kilometre of the beck will be re-shaped this week to a more natural character by forming shallow edges, deep pools and shallow riffle areas, which will help improve habitat diversity, encouraging more species such as grayling and brown trout.

Paul Slater, project manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We have worked with partners and the local angling club to try and address this problem for some time.

"We now hope that this solution will significantly improve the habitat over time, encouraging wildlife back to the beck and increasing fish stocks. If this trial area is successful we will extend the approach further downstream.”

Nigel Holmes, a national expert in river restoration, will lead the work with the Environment Agency’s operations delivery team.

Nigel said: “This should be relatively straightforward to achieve and will greatly improve the vitality and environmental quality of the beck without compromising the flood risk. Dramatic improvements in wildlife and fish populations have been observed elsewhere on similar rivers in other parts of the country when this kind of work has been carried out.”

The team will start work on site with a digger to move the earth and begin to recreate the natural features that should be found in the beck.

The work is in partnership with the local landowners and the Pickering Fishery Association.

The project will cost around £25,000 and is funded through the Water Framework Directive, which aims to improve water bodies across the country where water quality is failing.

More information on the Water Framework Directive can be found here: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/wfd 

 

Does putting a price on rivers and rainfall diminish us all ?

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In his typically lively and thought provoking manner, George Monbiot  of the Guardian, stepped into the fray with his analysis of ecosystem services on Monday. Monbiot says 'The argument in favour of this approach is coherent and plausible. Business currently treats the natural world as if it is worth nothing. Pricing nature and incorporating that price into the cost of goods and services creates an economic incentive for its protection. It certainly appeals to both busines and the self-hating state. The Ecosystems Markets Task Force speaks of ''substantial potential growth in nature-related markets- in the order of billions of pounds globally'.

But he says 'it doesn't end there. Once a resource has been commodified, speculators and traders step in'.

Keeping rivers cool - creating riparian shade

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Keeping Rivers Cool is a four year (2012-2016) Environment Agency led climate change adaptation project focused on using trees to keep rivers cool. Three pilot catchments have been targeted for the first two years of this project, namely: Wye, Hampshire Avon, Tyne.

Rio Ram: hydropower or biosphere?

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Ram river is an extraordinary watercourse in Val Müstair: clean water, a close to natural river system and a great diversity of plants and animals. Many are also the interests at stake: hydropower, nature protection, tourism. Now inhabitants have to decide decide whether Switzerland and Italy will travel common paths on river management.

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