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Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust

The rivers trust movement developed from a perceived need for local involvement in river management and restoration. Research shows that river processes, water quality and ecology have been in decline for many decades. River trusts work at a  grassroots level in order to rectify losses of ecosystem function and characteristic. 

The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust was established as a Registered Charity in 2004 in order to provide a concerted and holistic approach to the protection and enhancement of the rivers and catchments of the Swale, Ure, Nidd and Wharfe. These rivers flow through some of the UK's most distinctive and precious landscapes. The landscapes themselves are home to some very special flora and fauna but also to a way of living and working with the land that can be traced back across many centuries.

A major driver for founding the trust was the lack of effort towards engaging local communities, farmers and landowners in conservation and restoration. This was seen a prime barrier to cooperation and thus for improving the condition of the dales catchments. Without these partnerships conservation and restoration had been piecemeal, inefficient and poorly supported. 

From inception the trust formed the principle that all decisions and work would be based on the best science available. Yet scientific knowledge can be fallible and so direct relationships with landowners is again needed in order to corroborate findings developed using remote methods. The science has to be viewed as a guiding hand rather than an absolute. A second founding principle was that restoration measures would begin in the uplands before moving downstream. This was for pragmatic reasons. Work carried out to restore a section of river can be diminished if upstream processes deliver pollutants, or other stressors, to the section. The final principle that directs the trust is that research will be at the catchment scale moving investigation towards smaller scales as and when the need arises. 

Over the next decade, the Trust will deliver a real improvement to the rivers, floodplains and hills of this very special part of England. If you are interested in what we do, please find further information on these web pages. We would particularly welcome your support as a member or in terms of possible projects to be explored, and we very much hope to hear from you soon.

Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust

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