The club is active in preserving and promoting the ecology on the River Ure and the river corridor, assisted by our own full time River Keeper, David Griffiths.
The general quality of the river can be regarded as good and all improvements are in accordance with the CEFAS Biodiversity Action Plan. Wild trout need a good unpolluted river in an environment that is actively managed.
Many positive signs of improvement in the local ecology have been seen, for instance breeding lampreys, increasing number of eels and runs of salmon.
Fly life is also being monitored.
However the river has suffered on occasions with increased sedimentation which can reduce the number and sizes of pools. Spates erode the bank and damage weirs. The sedimentation is, in part, due to increased water abstraction in the area thus reducing the level of the water table but at the same time it being a spate river there is occasional flooding. We address these difficulties and have an active plan for the river and the river corridor.
As part of this, we commissioned an inspection by the Wild Trout Trust (WTT) in 2012 who confirmed that the actions being taken (tree layering, etc) were appropriate.They agreed that the TAC stretch is a ‘bottleneck’for spawning as no suitable streams are available for trout breeding. Their findings have been used to determine the club’s future strategy.We see it as a duty, to manage the river corridor as a habitat for aquatic and land-based animals as much as possible. Trees stabilise banks as well as giving shade for fish and providing insect life. Therefore as part of an ongoing programme, and including those identified by the WTT, we are actively managing the banks by coppicing and pollarding, reducing the height of some trees and vegetation and creating wooden debris to help to increase the formation of deeper pools.
Trout may breed in a main river in appropriate areas so we have tried to improve potential hatching grounds. Small areas of gravel (redds) have been raked each year but unfortunately these can be damaged by winter spates on the river.
Strategic planting of native trees and shrubs on the outside of bends, in areas vulnerable to accelerated erosion and buffer strips has been undertaken. These trees, when established, will increase fly life and provide shelter for trout.
An important role of the River Keeper, is to control pests (mink etc) and poachers. He has orchestrated a programme to address this. Since 2007 he has caught 107 mink, as well as stoats and weasels thus encouraging other wildlife to prosper. This ongoing work has been warmly welcomed by the Environment Agency. Wild life is now more abundant including kingfishers and oyster catchers, and water voles. This is in part due to controlling these predators.