Blythe Alive Again – Project Announcement

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Tame Valley Wetlands Team announce the launch of a new project; Blythe Alive Again!

Generously funded by the Environment Agency and Severn Trent, and working alongside Natural England, the project will see the Trust’s Tame Valley Wetlands team working on over 140 hectares of land within the River Blythe SSSI (Site of special Scientific Interest) area, to create a wide range of habitats.

The work will be delivered over the next five years and will involve the creation and management of vital wetland habitats, planting of trees, hedges and wildflower meadows, and restoration and re-naturalisation of critical areas of the River Blythe.

This wildlife-focussed project will improve the river for amphibians, mammals and fish, increase the number of pollinators by providing much needed food and pollinator corridors and will generally improve the biodiversity in the area, a positive for both wildlife and the local communities.

Community involvement from citizen science opportunities will also contribute to the ongoing monitoring of the area and its species over the course of the project.

Andrew Apanasionok, the Tame Valley Wetlands Water and Habitats Specialist Officer said:
“We have been taken aback by the hugely positive response to the project proposal we have had from landowners, farmers, river users and other stakeholders in the area. We have developed some massively positive relationship with delivery partners. We are very excited to get started on this amazing project which will focus on habitat improvement, creation and monitoring within the river Blythe catchment and the river itself.”

The River Blythe catchment area and its ecosystem is a significant area for wildlife, so by helping landowners to transition from traditional farming, this project will help restore and maintain key wildlife habitats in the surrounding area.

Severn Trent’s Principal Ecologist, Graham Osborn, said:
“We’re delighted to be involved in such an ambitious nature recovery project that will not only benefit habitat creation but this work will also deliver buffering and help to reduce agricultural pollution, which is vital to help protect river health and water quality.”

Blythe Alive Again will contribute towards the Wildlife Trust’s 30by30 strategy, which aims for 30% of land to be connected and protected for nature’s recovery by 2030.

Adam Noon, Catchment Coordinator for the Environment Agency, said:
“The Environment Agency is a key funding partner in the River Blythe Restoration project and we are delighted to be working with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Tame Valley Wetlands Team to whom we will also provide technical support in its delivery.

“The project will deliver landscape-scale environmental enhancements, improving river morphology and restoring natural processes which will help move this river into favourable condition.  The restoration work will include bank re-profiling, floodplain reconnection, in-channel habitat creation, invasive species management and the creation of new terrestrial habitats to enhance biodiversity, which will also improve the resilience of the ecology to climate change and other pressures. Riparian tree planting will help improve biodiversity, provide shading and reduce surface water run-off.

“Working in partnership with the Tame Valley Wetlands Team on this exciting project will help us to achieve our objective of returning the SSSI towards its target condition and help improve water quality.”

Ian Jelley, Director of Landscape Recovery at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said;
“When we collaborate and work together with others, we can achieve more and the Blythe Alive Again project will be a shining example of this.”

Find out more about the project on the Blythe Alive Again project page

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