Conserving and restoring river habitat is central to LADFFA’s aims. Our waters are located in iconic, beautiful and environmentally important surroundings and we want to keep it that way.
The habitats of the Peak District are truly spectacular. In the White Peak there are limestone grasslands, with thin chalky soil making them ideal for lime-loving grasses and wild flowers.
Ash woodlands cling to the sides of steep limestone dales. As you head north towards the gritstone of the Dark Peak, the landscape opens into broad valleys with open grassland and moorland.
Some of our rivers run through Sites of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve. Much to the delight of birds, fish and anglers alike, there’s an abundance of aquatic fly-life. Dippers are a common sight in Dovedale. Kingfishers dart up and down The Churnet. Curlew are more often heard than seen on the Upper Dove.
Our commitment to protecting river habitat is well established. Not least when, in the eighties, LADFFA pursued a case against Severn Trent PLC for polluting the River Churnet, resulting in an out-of-court settlement in 1992 and £28 million of improvements to treatment plants along the river.
Early each season, we arrange a number of working parties and encourage members to get involved. These follow the recommended actions from advisory visits made by the Wild Trout Trust. The latest working parties have focussed on installing brushwood bundles as instream refuges for juvenile fish to escape predation.
Where possible, we retain natural large woody debris in the river channel and, at times, deliberately introduce it to improve habitat diversity, avoid bank erosion and provide additional cover for fish. Where needed, and only where needed, LADFFA has been working with the Trent Rivers Trust to thin out the tree canopy to allow more light into the river. This encourages growth of river plants which in turn encourages aquatic insects.
Again with the Trent Rivers Trust, we have been working to improve water quality in the upper Dove catchment. This has involved installing stock fencing and a watering point to keep cattle away from the bank side, encouraging plant growth and reducing the amount of sediment that enters the river.
Working with the National Trust and other partners, volunteers have helped to remove one of the man-made weirs on the River Dove. The impact of this work is being monitored by researchers from Hull International Fisheries Institute (University of Hull). Click here for an overview of the project.
Feel free to contact LADFFA to find out more about the work we’re doing to improve our river habitat