We are so lucky to have the beautiful Redrcoss river running through Wildacres Nature Reserve. It meanders its way through the lands, and a few kilometres further down stream flows into the Irish Sea.
It's fascinating to observe and has a character all of its own, constantly changing through flood and drought, and altering its wayward course through erosion and deposition.
It attracts all manner of wildlife from foraging bats to dazzling kingfishers and lots more, some yet to be discovered.
Unfortunately like all our native wildlife habitats, and specifically all our undervalued watercourses, it has its problems. Sadly problems that we have caused, in the form of
Plastic pollution, which ultimately ends up flowing into our marine environment and poisoning our marine wildlife, and us to a certain degree through consumption of seafood contaminated with micro plastics
Excess erosion, if the riverside edge is grazed and devoid of trees and shrubs, we end up with excessive heavy erosion. Riverside trees and shrubs with their thick lattice of roots stabilize the riverbank edge, as well as providing vital wildlife habitat. This heavy riverbank erosion causes large amounts of soil to enter the watercourse resulting in silting up of important habitats within the river, such as gravel spawning beds of our native freshwater fish such as sea trout , freshwater trout and salmon.
The area immediately either side running along the river is known as the Riparian Zone. Such riverside riparian zones are a hugely important habitat for wildlife.
If they are maintained and managed properly, as they should be with biodiversity in mind, or leven eft over time to revert back to a wild state,
These zones would be a rich tapestry of waterside plants ranging from alder, willow and ash trees to holly, hawthorn and blackthorn. With a carpet of our stunning native wildflowers such as foxgloves, celandines, wood anemones, primroses and much much more, and provide nesting and foraging habitat for all manner of of our precious native animals. They also would also act as a riverside buffer zone reducing contaminants, in the form of fertilizer and pesticide run off entering the watercourse.
To improve the river ecosystem and water quality through various measures taken over time, such as
Reinstating the riverside Riparian buffer zone along as much of the Redcross river as possible by planting native trees and shrubs, on and close to the river banks.
Monitoring water quality to chart levells of pollutants
Manual removal of plastic waste materials from the river and disposing of them correctly, through recycling if appropriate.
Recording of wildlife associated with the river and forwarding on this information for processing to the National Biodiversity data Centre.