Project Overview

The River Wharfe is a nationally important river designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its contrasting upland and lowland character which is important for its wildlife and habitat. The SSSI was in poor condition as a result of historic management methods which prevented the river from functioning naturally, reducing its ecological health. .

The Wharfe SSSI project collaborates with multiple partners and local farmers across the SSSI to identify meaningful opportunities to restore the SSSI to a ‘favourable’ condition. The project is using feasibility studies and ongoing farm engagement to look for those opportunities, where they may fit and how they could receive ongoing funding for farms and work within existing farm business models.

Work on the Upper Wharfe SSSI includes:

  • Willow Spilling to help control excessive erosion.
  • Tree planting to reduce erosion and sedimentation of the feeder streams and main river, as well as creating habitat, increasing interception of rainfall, and improving water shading.
  • Creating retention ponds to hold water, and create new wildlife habitat.
  • Bank revetment to reduce erosion, reconnecting the river with its floodplain and improving habitat for wildlife.
  • Removal of invasive non-native species such as Himalayan Balsam.

Background Information

JBA SSSI Restoration Plan

Capital Works on River Wharfe SSSI Video