On the river this month.....

24th February 2017 - General Catchment

‘On the River this Month’ is a monthly blog written by staff at West Cumbria Rivers Trust. We know you are keen to learn about rivers and we want to feed your interest in the work we are doing in West Cumbria. We also want to share our appreciation of our beautiful landscape and inspire you to take action to help improve it for people and wildlife.

We would love to hear what you think, please let us know on our facebook page, tweet us @WestCumbriaRT or email us at info@westcumbriariverstrust.org

This month’s blog is written by Rebecca Neal whose work is funded by United Utilities and Copeland Community Fund.

Hi, and welcome to our first blog! My name is Becca and I am a new member of staff at West Cumbria Rivers Trust with a brilliant role to work with schools and communities getting people excited by all things riverine. I love writing, so you might find me hogging the limelight in our monthly blog.

It’s a new thing, so let us know what you want to read about, but our plan at the moment is have a different focus each month which might be: a staff member chatting about what they’ve been up to, something new coming up, an update on what wildlife is doing in our rivers, or even some creative writing with a watery theme.

Perhaps we can kick it off with trees.

I love trees, and one of the first activities I did with the trust when shadowing my colleague Chris who is Project Officer looking after the River Irt, was to plant some trees. The science behind planting trees for rivers is interesting. Leaves intercept rain before it reaches the soil, and slows the time it takes for the water to get into the river. Some water is stopped completely because trees takes it up through their roots. These mean that there is less water in the river at any one time after a rainfall event and this reduces flood-risk downstream. Trees right on the river can stabilise the banks, stopping soil erosion whilst providing good habitat for fish and other animals. It all sounds easy until you introduce a 45 degree slope and mud which is what it was like that day on the River Irt. I like to think of this day as extreme tree planting and wonder whether my new colleague was just putting me to the test. I hope I passed! Despite being muddy and tired by the end of the day, I was proud, alongside the team of volunteers and National Trust rangers, to have left a legacy that will grow.

Not all our volunteering is extreme! If you are interested in helping out on any of our projects, please get in contact.