Why the River Blythe?
The Blythe River was originally identified to be a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the diversity of its wildlife, especially plant species.
However, due to various types of pollution, such as phosphate and road runoff and point-source discharge; as well as the presence of several barriers to fish movement along the river, the ecological status of the River Blythe has been degraded over time.
What will Blythe Alive! involve?
Tame Valley Wetlands, with funding from the ERDF, will be carrying out a two-year project, ‘Blythe Alive!’, to enhance the biodiversity value of the River Blythe and improve its general ecological status. Our work began at the beginning of 2019 and we aim to be finished by March 2021.
There will be three main project objectives of Blythe Alive!:
- To address the issues of sedimentation and threats to plants
- We will reinstate gravels into the riverbeds at key sites along the River Blythe to reduce the amount of sedimentation, which is currently harmful to plants growing in the river.
- We will work on the control of Non-Native Invasive Species (NNIS) – these are plant species such as Himalayan Balsam which tend to be detrimental to the ecosystem and reduce biodiversity.
- We will plant areas with native plants and riparian trees, with the aim of enhancing species diversity along the river and stabilising the river banks to reduce run-off pollution.
- To address the physical issues by enhancing structure, form, connectivity and condition of the river
- We plan to enhance and create more high-quality wetland areas and reconnect the River Blythe to floodplains, improving natural hydrological processes.
- We hope to create bypasses through weirs in the river, which currently block the natural flow of water, so that fish are able to pass through undisturbed.
- To raise awareness and understanding of the issues involved in the SSSI.
- We will deliver training sessions and events to teach people about the importance of the river and its associated ecosystem.
- We will hold landowner events to help landowners and farmers become involved in protecting and improving the river.
- We will support local groups working to control NNIS
- We hope to establish a Blythe Alive Partnership
TVW will be delivering these projects in partnership with landowners who are fully supportive of these biodiversity improvement schemes. We are fortunate to be collaborating with several exceptional local farmers along priority sections of the Blythe River.
The overall aim is to facilitate the recovery of the Blythe River SSSI to a more favourable ecological status, whilst also providing greater natural connectivity and creating more wildlife friendly habitats.
How can I get involved?
If you want to get involved, please keep an eye out for volunteering opportunities. Our next community event will be at the end of October, when we will be planting various plug plants along the River Blythe at Southfields Farm. Please see event page for more details: https://www.facebook.com/events/2431997610403033/?event_time_id=2431997613736366
If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch via Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org