Water is an important and vital resource, but data collected by the Environment Agency revealed that the Owler Beck catchment is struggling to achieve the 'good ecological status' needed in order to meet the European Water Framework Directive. This is likely due to years of urban and rural pressures and alterations that have removed the diversity of the environments and left the watercourse silty. A lack of invertebrates and the presence of pollutants were some of the key indicators that the river was in poor health. The Owler Beck catchment covers villages in the Wakefield area including Newmillerdam, Havercroft, Notton, and Ryhill.
Working across nine sites, we are putting in place a series of work that will help improve the quality of the water, creating additional habitat for wildlife and helping to restore existing habitats. We are working closely with local communities and volunteering groups to help them to carry out restoration and surveying work. We aim to engage and provide training for local volunteers who in turn will become stewards of the beck; providing a sustainable, long-term and biodiversity rich future.
What we are doing
We are undertaking seasonal tasks throughout the year, from tree planting and willow spiling to removing the non-native invasive species Himalayan balsam. This will improve the habitat along the beck for insects, birds and native plants!
We are providing the local community with training to help monitor the water quality along Owler Beck. We will be supporting volunteers to monitor riverfly populations at key sites. Riverfly are a group of pollution sensitive invertebrates, so regular surveying allows us to monitor water quality in real time!
We are running workshops and events to help the local community reconnect with the nature on their doorstep. We are also engaging local volunteer groups, landowners and visiting schools to teach children about the importance of their local environment.
How you can help
Veolia, Environment Agency, Tesco Groundwork Bags of Help