Get involved

We aim to meet twice per month throughout the Dales and surrounding area for Practical Conservation Tasks. These activities will be outdoors and may be physically demanding. Below is a list of activities that YDRT do throughout the year.

We also need volunteers to help us with our Invasive Species Watch. We are developing a programme to eradicate tackle invasive species throughout the Dales, particularly in Wensleydale and the Upper Wharfe, but we are lacking information about how serious the problem is and how far invasive species have spread.  If you notice any Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed, Giant Hogweed or other invasive species whilst you are out and about please send us record of it. An easy way to do this is to download the PlantTracker app on a Smartphone or computer. The location of your sighting will be automatically sent to a database. If you would like further information or a pocket ID guide, please contact:  caitlin.pearson@yorkshiredalesriverstrust.com

We are also looking for a volunteer  Webmaster, Secretary and Education Officer. 

If you are interested in being involved please join our Volunteering Mailing list to keep updated with future events .

Willow Spiling

Willow Spiling on River Cover

Willow spiling is a ‘Green Engineering’ river restoration technique aimed at tackling severe erosion and reducing sedimentation. The process involved weaving live willow around stakes situated at the toe of eroding banks. When the willow grows the root matt provides the bank with added strength and the ability to withstand further erosion, additionally the added cover is great for juvenile fish and aquatic life.

  • Time of year

    September to April

  • Work Level

    Moderate

Willow Bundling

Willow Bundling is a very similar technique to willow spiling however it is often used in less severe locations but is also a good way of increasing ‘in stream’ cover for aquatic life. Willow bundles (generally sourced locally) are secured in position with stakes. Willow bundling

  • Time of year

    September to April

  • Work Level

    Moderate

Fencing

Riverbank fencing is a method of enhancing the surrounding River environment also known as the riparian zone. The idea is that if you prevent livestock access to the riverbank then natural regeneration of trees and vegetation will begin to grow, creating a corridor for wildlife and important for refugee. Furthermore, it also stabilises the banks and acts as a buffer from diffuse agricultural pollution. The trust installs flood fencing as it ensures longevity, how this differs to normal stock fencing is that, plain wire is used to prevent the build-up of debris and breaks every 50m are made so that it can be easily maintained. Most of this work is conducted by contractors.

Tree Planting

The YDRT are involved in number of’ tree planting’ projects, the majority of the time it is in conjunction with our livestock exclusion riparian fencing. The aim being to; enhance the stability of the riparian zone, increase cover for aquatic species and increase shade to reduce excessive warming of water during summer months. Furthermore we are often involved with gill planting projects, targeted at slowing water down and minimising peak floods further down the catchment.

  • Time of year

    September to April

  • Work Level

    Moderate

Parkland Guards

Trees are often planted in the same location as cattle grazing. In these circumstances normal tree shelters are not enough to protect the trees from cattle crushing them, therefore we plant the tree in a more substantial guard using wire mesh and fence posts.

  • Time of year

    September to April

  • Work Level

    Hard

Walkover surveys

The best way to determine the condition of the river is to psychically go and out and have a look at what’s happening. Therefore a popular method we use to monitor river condition is conducting Catchment Walkover Surveys. This is generally a really fun day out getting to see some places that you would not usually get to see, and a really important exercise to priorities the Trusts work.

  • Time of year

    All year

  • Work Level

    Low

Electric fishing

Electric fishing is a surveying technique used to monitor fish populations in rivers and streams. Predominately the YDRT focus on small rivers and becks to monitor juvenile recruitment to indicate the health of fish populations. A small electrical current is passed through the water which temporarily stuns the fish, they are the caught, measured, identified and return safely (no fish are harmed).

Time of Year: Electric fishing is conducted between July and September.

Work Level: Moderate- It must be noted that the electric fishing cannot be undertaken by persons with underlying heart conditions or pacemakers.

Electric Fishing is an exciting and interesting activity. You might be surprised where some fish live.

  • Time of year

    July to Septmeber

  • Work Level

    Moderate

  • Medical

    Medical information required to undertake electric fishing

Balsam Bashing

Himalayan Balsam is an Invasive Non Native Species meaning it is a species that has been introduced and is now out-competing other local native species. Himalayan Balsam is a particular problem as it out competes the majority of riparian vegetation and quickly becomes the dominant species once established, due to its effective seed dispersal strategy.

Unfortunately, when the first frost arrives the plant dies off, leaving unvegetative and unprotected banks, very susceptible to erosion. One of the most effective ways of getting rid of balsam is to pull it by hand for several years. The YDRT are often involved with small strategic Balsam Pulling projects.

  • Time of year

    June to September

  • Work Level

    Low to Moderate