The Environment Agency have conducted a crayfish rescue as part of their regular gravel removal works on the River Kent in Kendal to reduce flood risk to the town.
This year, the Environment Agency took the decision to start the gravel removal programme early, ahead of work beginning on the separate £76millon Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme in the autumn. When complete, the scheme will provide extra flood protection to 1,437 homes and 1,151 businesses.
Due to the presence of the endangered white-clawed crayfish within the River Kent system, the Environment Agency check work locations for the presence of crayfish before excavators enter the channel to remove gravel. They move any animals found to a safer part of the river away from the works in order to preserve and protect the species. Crayfish are small lobster like creatures that live under stones and tree roots in rivers and streams. This is Britain’s only native crayfish species which is now very rare.
Last week works have begun at Dockray to the North of the town. Gravel removal has previously been conducted at Beezon Fields and will continue throughout September, moving to Sandy Bottoms and finally Romney Gardens.
Stewart Mounsey, Cumbria’s Flood Risk Manager for the Environment Agency said: “It’s great to see crayfish in our rivers and it’s important we continue to protect the species when conducting works. We would always urge people to ‘Check – Clean – Dry’ their footwear and equipment after spending time in and around watercourses.
Anything that has contact with the water and riverbank needs to be cleaned thoroughly after use with warm water and environmentally friendly detergent. Then fully dried for 48 hours to make sure all parasites are killed.
Gravel naturally accumulates in the River Kent in Kendal. The removal of this gravel will reduce flood risk by allowing water in the river to drain more quickly during heavy rain. During the works, the Environment Agency will aim to cause minimal disruption to the public however there may be some restriction to access of river banks while machinery is onsite.”
All works will be carried out in line with the Government’s most up to date advice and workers will implement social distancing measures.