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Invasive rhododendron plant to be removed around Walshaw Dean reservoirs

We're continuing with removing the invasive rhododendron plant that has colonised the moorland surrounding Walshaw Dean’s middle reservoir north of Hebden Bridge next week.

It’s part of a £1million programme, in support of Natural England, to improve the condition of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) such as land around Walshaw Dean reservoirs.

Centuries of change has led to Yorkshire’s peatland habitats being degraded and so over the next four years we will conserve and enhance 43 square miles of Yorkshire’s peat moorland – much of which is designated as SSSI.

Restoring and protecting these iconic landscapes will boost local biodiversity and benefit the thousands of visitors who enjoy the moors and also improve the quality of raw water in several moorland catchments.

Michael Toy, Project Manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “Over the next few weeks we are working with our tenants and neighbouring landowners to remove these plants which aren’t native species from the moorland around Walshaw Dean middle reservoir. We hope this will allow native plants like cotton grass to grow back freely.”

Other moorland restoration techniques that will be used elsewhere include moorland gully blocking to restore water tables; re-vegetation using sphagnum mosses and native grasses and heathers; control of invasive and non-native species including bracken, fern as well as rhododendron plants and the repair and removal of fences to control grazing regimes.

Innovative survey techniques are being used; unmanned aircraft are mapping erosion features on SSSI moorlands and helping to identify areas for improvement.

The project at Walshaw Dean’s middle reservoir will be completed before Christmas, with the whole programme of work throughout Yorkshire complete by the end of 2020.