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, woody debris, willow spiling, tackling invasive species and 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 have been completed along with annual electrofishing at 14 sites on Kirk and Black becks. 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 have also delivered Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) advice to farms on Kirk beck, Black beck and an extended area that includes Pow Beck in the North and the River Calder in the South. 

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