The new project in the Moss valley is funded by Yorkshire water and Don Network grants. Heading up the project is Matt Duffy, project assistant in the DCRT, being assisted by me (Anthony the apprentice).
On our first day working on the project our team worked with Dr Paul Gaskell from the Wild Trout Trust. We began our attempt to unblock the area around the weir, first removing any debris in the way, such as large logs and trees. To do this we used a winch provided by the Wild Trout Trust to move the larger logs downstream. As we pressed on we removed lots of the vegetation that was blocking the weir and it is now flowing. Later in the project me and Matt worked together in felling some trees along the moss. The first tree we felled we used to reinforce the bank as it had been eroded away and the footpath was at risk of falling into the river. This will reduce the amount of erosion on the bank so the footpath will be preserved for a little longer. The rest of the trees were placed into habitat piles that can become a home to insects as they feed on the decaying wood and are also sheltered from the elements. In the project we have also done some tree kicking led by Paul Gaskell. On the day we also worked with our trustee Chris Firth and my sister. Tree kicking is when you cut into the tree and bend it into the river so it can still grow creating habitat for marine invertebrates and also channels the river to increase the flow speed which reduces the flood risk.
This past week Matt and I have been brush cutting some of the brambles in the area to try and stop them taking over and allowing new woodland or a meadow to form on the wetland as the brambles can outcompete them. Also the area was previously a wet meadow and would have been kept under control by grazing animals but due to mechanisation on farms and fear of foot and mouth the area is no longer grazed so it is up to people to step I and prevent the brambles taking over. On one of these days one of our dedicated volunteers helped us rake the cut brambles into habitat piles. If you would like to help us on any of our moss days we have some volunteer days booked in (see our events calendar), or contact Matt Duffy and he can provide you with the dates of our Moss days.