Bishopdale Habitat Project


Ure Salmon Group have carried out extensive habitat work in Bishopdale Beck nr Aysgarth. This has involved fencing 5km of river bank (both banks) to exclude dairy cattle from this important salmon spawning stream. Ongoing survey work will hopefully show significant improvements in spawning success. When you exclude animals from a river or stream you need to provide drinking troughs usually supplied with water via mains supply.  Ure Salmon Group have taken an innovative approach and installed solar powered livestock drinks.  Bishopdale is currently failing under Water Framework Directive (WFD). Each reach of river (and all the lakes) in the uk has been given a WFD classification. Bishopdale is failing specifically for a paucity of salmon and trout in certain reaches. Bishopdale was one of the most important nursery and juvenille habitats for salmon on the River Ure. Some sites are still very good but much of the habitat has been degraded by siltation, mainly dues to poaching (trampling of river banks) by grazing animals. The main thrust of the project therefore is to exclude these animals from this crucial salmon spawning stream.

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The drinks are very efficient and provide all the water necessary for a thirsty herd of cattle. The 200w solar panel charges two large batteries that provide the power to a submersible pump.  An electronic float valve in the tank switches the pump on when the level in the tank falls and turns it off again as it fills up. On a sunny day the pump will take power directly from the panel. On a dull day the pump will take power from the batteries or a combination of the two. The solar controller sorts all this out automatically and the batteries will still be charging all throught the daylight hours even on a dull day.

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Farmer Raymond Bell said- "These solar powered drinkers are ideal for us and provide an effective, low maintenance, low cost solution to animal watering on the farm. I would highly recommend them to others.”


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Ure Salmon Group carried out more habitat work on Bishopdale last Summer working in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust. The scheme included fencing off nearly 2km of river bank and some in-stream habitat improvement work; including the installation of ‘Woody Debris Structures’ and 'Willow Spilling.'  The aim of the work is to provide a more complex in-stream habitat for young salmon and trout and reduce silt inputs due to excessive erosion. Virtually all species of fish do better in complex environments. As a general rule, the more complex and diverse the in-stream and riparian habitat is, the greater the number and variety of flora and fauna that will be present.

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