South Cumbria Rivers Trust, Freshwater Biological Association, Environment Agency and Natural England have partnered up for a multi million pound project on the River Kent, Special Area of Conservation (SAC). As part of the Natura 2000 network, the River Kent SAC is designated for its Ranunculion habitat, freshwater pearl mussel, bullhead and white clawed crayfish.

This five year EU funded LIFE R4Ever Kent Project plans to Restore and Revive the River Kent SAC, so that species and habitats can Recover, thus making the designated features more Resilient to environmental pressures.

The River Kent SAC is currently impacted by several issues including water quality, siltation, physical modification and invasive non-native species, which have led to a decline in native species condition and habitats. The LIFE R4ever Kent project plans to rectify this.

For example, the freshwater pearl mussel is a keystone species which requires clean gravel habitats. Improved water and habitat quality (including Ranunculion habitat) will benefit other aquatic/terrestrial species including the endangered white clawed crayfish and provide optimum conditions for the freshwater pearl mussel’s salmonid hosts. The project will trial new techniques, provide targeted advice and training and promote better communication.

SCRT have appointed a new project officer, Emma Wright, who will be working on this exciting new project. Emma says, “I’ve already been out on-site visits exploring and getting to know the River Kent and its tributaries, allowing me to understand potential areas of improvement whilst maintaining suitable habitat.”

There will be a designated website for the project, which is currently being designed but in the meantime, you can find out more about the River Kent on our South Cumbria catchment partnership site Becks to Bay; https://btob.scrt.co.uk/south-cumbria-catchment-plan/kent-catchment