Volunteers help clean-up the riverbank at Kirkstall Abbey to mark World Rivers Day.
World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world’s waterways which highlights the values of our rivers, strives to increase public awareness, and encourages the improved stewardship of all rivers around the world.
The clean-up forms part of the overall Developing the Natural Aire (DNAire) programme of volunteer days, school visits and community events over the next two years to celebrate the completion of four fish passes in Armley, Newlay, Kirkstall and Bradford in 2020.
Suttle Projects have been working to construct the fish pass on behalf of the Environment Agency since the start of April. The fish passage at Kirkstall Weir is one of four that will reconnect habitat in the river allowing fish to move freely to feed, breed and shelter.
As completion of the new fish pass draws closer to the end, the Aire Rivers Trust was able to use the temporary bridge that Suttles have installed to access areas of the riverbank that couldn’t be accessed before.
Simon Watts from the Aire Rivers Trust said:
“Flooding along the river and fly tipping brings debris into the river. It’s a real shame as it spoils the river for both wildlife and visitors.
“It’s fantastic to have this opportunity to clean up a really inaccessible stretch of the river. Soon Atlantic salmon will be swimming up the new fish pass and we want to offer them the best chance of spawning in our river.
“It’s been challenging running social distanced volunteer days but our volunteers are out weekly improving the river in Leeds, Bradford and Craven.”
Volunteers from the Aire Rivers Trust joined a team from Suttle Projects, supported by the River Stewardship Company, to remove debris including plastic, tires, an old fridge and timber from the river. World Rivers Day was held on Saturday, 26 September.
Developing the Natural Aire (DNAire) programme is a partnership project between the Aire Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Yorkshire Water and Craven Council.
The Aire Rivers Trust is urging riverbank businesses to be aware of flooding this winter and avoid storing waste and materials where it can be washed into rivers. Businesses and homeowners can sign up for free phone, e-mail or text message warnings if your home or business is at risk of flooding by calling 0345 988 1188.
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