The Environmental Protection Agency has been working with Bradford City Council, Friends of Bradford Beck and the Wild Trout Trust since 2018 to complete a river restoration project in an urbanized section of Bradford Beck in Shipley.
A number of measures have been initiated to improve the natural ecology and biodiversity of the stream and the surrounding forests.
Rolls made of natural fibers were attached to the edges of the stream to support the establishment of bank plants and create diverse habitats for fish and invertebrates. Along with new plantings near the creek, this will help slow the flow of water into the canal, which can help reduce water quality issues and the risk of flooding downstream.
The creek lies in a deep canal and is difficult to reach from the sidewalks above. Therefore, a new path has been built to provide public access to the river where people can enjoy local wildlife such as forest birds, herons, ducks and fish.
New native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, as well as bird and bat boxes along the creek will create better habitats for birds and other species. In addition, new trees will help fight climate change.
In 2019 and 2020 weirs and structures under road bridges were modified in four places with wooden baffles that slow the river and increase the water depth to help fish such as trout, bullhead, stone loaches, minnows and eels move upstream more easily swim aire.
Ineke Jackson, Project Manager at the Environmental Protection Agency, said:
We loved creating more space for the outdoors in this very urbanized section of Bradford Beck. As it flows through Shipley, the creek is surrounded by very steep banks. This work aims to make the creek flow more naturally within the available space and to help both people and wildlife make the most of their local flow.
We are now making plans with our partners to further improve the environment of Bradford Beck and its tributaries in the years to come.
Andrew Mindham, Bradford City Council project manager, said:
We are very pleased that the planned work has now been completed. This is the final year of a three-year program to restore part of Bradford Beck’s environmental value that had been lost to human activity over many years.
A number of measures have been implemented to improve the biodiversity of the stream and the surrounding forests. The construction of a path to the bank of the stream made the area more attractive to residents.
Although the project has been completed, the project partners want to make further improvements in the coming years. They will work together on a section of the creek further upstream next to Valley Road, along with other work to improve the habitat and water quality of the catchment area.
The main financier of this project is the Environment Agency with additional funds from Bradford Council and the EU fund BEGIN (Blue Green Infrastructure through Social Innovation). It was supported by local expertise and volunteering from Friends of Bradford Beck, as well as technical advice, the construction of fish ladders