Project spawns river wildlife success

The spawning of a primitive creature which looks like an eel in a Yorkshire river is being hailed as one of the successes of a three-year wildlife project.

Since 2009 Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has focused on the River Hull catchment, in particular its chalk streams, which support brown trout, grayling, water vole and white-clawed crayfish.

In one stretch near Wansford, where the trust has been working with the local internal drainage board, brook lamprey, Lampetra planeri, has recently spawned. The spawning has been put down to changes in the way the river is managed, allowing a more natural channel to develop, with clean gravel, that the jawless fish needs to lay its eggs.

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The project has also seen over 10 hectares of new wetland habitat created, eight new ponds dug and 10 others improved. Extra funding also allowed 33 hectares of land to be purchased as well as 2kms of chalk stream, creating a new trust nature reserve, Skerne wetlands.

Over 60 local people have volunteered to take part in surveys and creating habitat and there has been over 50 events, including walks and talks. Project officer Jon Traill said the past three years “had been great fun”.