New wetland habitat, reduced pollution and a restored river bank are just some of the enhancements made in a three-year £230,000 project to improve water quality in a North Yorkshire River.

The wide ranging ‘Wild Wiske Revival: Clean and Green’ project, carried out in partnership between the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, focused on restoration of the River Wiske, a heavily modified North Yorkshire river.

Land management caused sediment and its associated nutrients and chemicals to enter the river, smothering the river bed and leaving few areas for fish to spawn.

This was exacerbated by livestock accessing the river and compounded by unstable river banks and erosion.

Allison Pierre, from the Environment Agency’s Environment Programme team, said:

"The River Wiske has a long history of intensive management for land drainage - historically it has been straightened, deepened and widened resulting in an unnatural channel with little value for wildlife.

"This fantastic three-year project to improve conditions has made great strides in bringing the river to life.

"The result is reduced pollution, improved water quality, new habitat for wildlife to thrive and reduced flooding, plus it’s contributing to improvements under the Water Framework Directive."

The Water Framework Directive is a directive which requires all waterbodies to achieve good ecological status, but the river was lacking in macrophytes and phytobenthos, invertebrates, dissolved oxygen, phosphate and fish.