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Wetland wildlife habitat to be restored at Rivers Don and Rother

An £80,000 community supported scheme is underway along the Rivers Don and Rother to restore wetland wildlife habitats which have been in decline since the industrial revolution. 

The work is being led by Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust with  support from Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency. 

Following decades of human intervention, wildlife on the rivers Don and Rother has suffered enormously from pollution, artificial straightening, and loss of connections to floodplains and wetland habitats. 

However, the programme aims to reverse this trend by enhancing the rivers channels at certain points, restoring floodplains and improving wetlands such as ponds, reedbeds and ditches. This will help recover the wildlife populations of fish species, water voles, wetland birds such as snip and lapwing, harvest mice and great crested newts. 

We have provided £35,000 to the project as our environment team look to improve bidoversity in rivers throughout the region by working with partner organisations. 

Nabil Abbas, Living Landscape Manager from Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding which will allow us to make improvements to important wildlife sites along the Don and the Rother. By working at strategic locations in the river catchment, we will be enhancing the whole Living Landscape to benefit both wildlife and the local people who visit these sites.” 

The areas of the rivers the project will focus on are two nature reserves called Woodhouse Washlands and Centenary Riverside and also a wet grassland area called Kilnhurst Ings. 

Invasive plants such as Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed, which are harmful to wetland habitats, will also be controlled. 

Ellen Paganini from Yorkshire Water’s environmental team said:  “We are delighted to be able to support this project carried out by the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust. Our customers have asked us to take care of the natural environment in Yorkshire and through projects such as this and our River Don fish passage programme, we can help enhance regional  biodiversity and improve the resilience of the river ecosystem around our water treatment works.”

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