Our first Adopt a Beck scheme is a three year part time project funded by Nugen. This project focuses on Kirk Beck & Black Beck, two important spawning tributaries of the River Ehen.

As is common to many Cumbrian rivers, Kirk Beck and Black Beck suffer from pollution from the local area and a legacy of modifications that has changed how the watercourse functions. This is highlighted in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) classification for 2015, in which Kirk Beck is classed as being at ‘Moderate’ overall status due to diffuse pollution from agriculture, un-sewered domestic sewage and groundwater abstraction for local industry.

This project will be working with landowners, partners and the local community to improve the wildlife habitat in and around both becks. Work delivered will include fencing, tree planting, wooded debris, willow spiling, tackling invasive species and much much more. Our work will benefit both wildlife and landowners by helping to: manage livestock; stabilise riverbanks; reduce erosion and provide good habitat for spawning fish. We will also be holding events and activities over the three years to encourage local communities to get involved in their rivers.

Habitat surveys are well under way and we have also completed electrofishing at a number of sites to help measure the success of the project. In addition to Nugen, our other key partners are the Environment Agency and Egremont Anglers, who are contributing not only their knowledge and expertise of the area, but also some match funding to really make the money go further and deliver some fantastic work on the ground.

And it doesn’t stop there! To maximise the overall benefits we are also delivering Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) advice to these becks and an extended area that includes Pow Beck in the North and the River Calder in the South. This CSF work will continue until April 2017.

So, if you live, work or farm in the area and you’re interested in getting involved in the project then Karin would love to hear from you! Contact karin@westcumbriariverstrust.org