The organisation behind an environmental initiative to encourage wild salmon back to the River Ure has been given a major funding boost.
The Ure Salmon Trust, which aims to see the Ure reclaim its crown as one of the best salmon rivers in the country, has secured £81,000 of funding from the Yorkshire Dales LEADER Programme over the next two years.
The funding is being made available through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the European Union.
The money will help support the post of a river manager and extensive habitat development work along the Ure and its tributaries.
In order to be eligible for the grant, the trust had to find more than 40 per cent of the total figure needed, which has been raised by local landowners and attracting sponsorship from organisations including T and R Theakston Brewery in Masham and Leyburn-basedBiker Contracts.
Ure Salmon Trust member Richard Bourne-Arton said: “This is wonderful news and means we are now in a position to really press ahead with our aims, which is to boost the number of wild salmon returning annually to the Ure to spawn.
“We are delighted the Yorkshire Dales LEADER Programme has recognised the validity of our project and the fact it will bring tangible rewards to this part of the Yorkshire Dales.
“The river manager’s role is crucial to the success of this important environmental, ecological and economic initiative. Over the next two years, it will be their responsibility to take the lead role.”
In addition to increasing public awareness about the initiative and promoting community involvement in all aspects of the trust’s work, the river manager will liaise with the Environment Agency, owners of land on the water’s edge, farmers and gamekeepers, and co-ordinate riverbank clean-ups.
Simon Theakston, executive director of T and R Theakston, said: “This is very welcome news indeed. Our business has been located on the banks of the Ure at Masham for 185 years and we see the huge benefits this project brings to the area.”
In November, the trust – which worked closely with the Environment Agency to launch the project – won recognition from Defra for its six-year environmental and ecological initiative.
More information is available from the trust’s website at www.uresalmon.co.uk