Donation of gravel helping to rewild local rivers and streams in bid to increase biodiversity
ON the one-year anniversary of a project designed to boost trout numbers in Yorkshire, a study by a national conservation charity has shown that the initiative is proving a success.
In late 2021, Tarmac donated 30 tonnes of gravel to the Wild Trout Trust charity, to help rewild local rivers and streams such as Haw Beck and Dauber Gill, in a bid to increase biodiversity in Yorkshire.
One stream – Haw Beck, which runs alongside Tarmac’s Skipton Quarry – is seeing particularly positive results, with trout numbers rising by 36% since last year.
Professor Jonathan Grey of Lancaster University, and research and conservation officer for the Wild Trout Trust charity, who started the TROUT (Tackling Resilience on Underperforming Tributaries) project in 2020, with support from the Biodiversity Enhancement Programme of Yorkshire Water, recently surveyed the rivers and streams, following on from the initial use of the gravel.
‘Since the project began in 2020, the Haw Beck has seen an overall 928% boost in trout numbers. Out of them all, it is the highest-performing one, so Tarmac should be proud,’ he said.
With November’s spawning season starting, continual improvement is expected as the project progresses.
Professor Grey added: ‘Within the rivers and streams, the gravel has been used to create habitats for the trout, as they use these areas to make redds (nests) to lay their eggs in. Additionally, by improving other habitats for the fry and adult trout, it reduces the chances of predation as the trout grow.
‘Overall, the gravel has been a positive addition to the rivers. We still have gravel left that Tarmac donated, which we will drip feed into the rivers and streams over the next couple of years, before the project finishes in 2024.’
Paul Parker, unit manager at Tarmac’s Skipton Quarry, said: ‘I’m glad to hear that the gravel donation from us has been a beneficial contribution to the rivers and the biodiversity of the area. Sustainability is very important to us at Tarmac, and not only has it already made a significant difference, but we hope that the remaining gravel will do the same in the next few years. I look forward to hearing about the next survey results.’
The TROUT project encompasses nine water bodies, three on each of the rivers Aire (including Haw Beck), Wharfe, and Nidd.