10 organisations, including South Cumbria Rivers Trust (SCRT), have been successful in receiving funding from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC). SLDC’s Climate Change Community Fund provided grants totalling nearly £20,000 to a range of projects supporting carbon reduction and climate change resilience.
South Cumbria Rivers Trust will use the funds, alongside funding from the Rawdon-Smith Trust, the Conserving Coniston and Crake Partnership and the Environment Agency to deliver a ‘Cool Rivers’ project. This project aims to build on work previously undertaken by the Environment Agency as part of the ‘Keeping Rivers Cool’ project in 2012 – 2016, which focussed on climate change adaptions through shading rivers with trees. Climate change and the associated temperature increases and warming waters stresses fish and other aquatic species. If temperatures remain high for several days, it can lead to fish deaths. In addition, warmer water combined with high phosphate levels can lead to algal blooms; when these blooms die back, levels of oxygen in the water fall potentially leading to further fish deaths. Evidence has shown that shading of rivers with trees can reduce water temperatures by as much as 3 degrees celsius.
The ‘Cool Rivers’ project will focus on the areas of Coniston and Crake and the Furness peninsula, where data regarding tree cover is currently limited. There is a strong volunteer base within these areas which SCRT will continue to work with to undertake on-the-ground survey work to establish an accurate picture of tree cover and its condition. This would also provide an excellent opportunity to gather data to identify areas for re-naturalisation work.
Without action to reduce the impacts of climate change we are likely to see decreasing water quality in our rivers and becks and the associated loss of iconic species such as Atlantic Salmon and the critically endangered European Eel.
Further information on other projects supported by SLDCs Climate Change Community Fund can be found here.