Meet our Catchment Champions

A key role for the ACCP is to engage people and groups from across the region to help improve our precious water environments. The ACCP Catchment Champions are a group of individuals already working hard throughout the catchment to do this. They represent the 7 operational catchments that make up the Aire and Calder. These are the Upper Aire, Middle Aire, Lower Aire, Upper Calder, Middle Calder, Lower Calder and the Colne and Holme.

The Catchment Champions will provide a valuable link to local groups within the Aire and Calder catchment. Their role will be an integral part of realising the partnerships vision:

“A healthy and wildlife rich water environment within the Aire and Calder that is valued and enjoyed, bringing increased social and economic benefits to all”

For the next couple of months we will profile a different Catchment Champion each week, so that you can get to know the person representing your area! This week focuses on the Lower Calder Catchment Champion.

Lower Calder Catchment Champion – Alec Boyd

I have a geology and palaeontology background and gradually shifted career paths to pursue conservation. I am a huge fan of all things wildlife and love to look at plants and animals in the context of natural history. Preserving the health of our rivers is integral to a healthy ecosystem. Life as we know it came from the water and it is vital to protect it for the benefit of all.

I work for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust where I’m a Project Assistant working in West Yorkshire. The main project I work on is the Owler Beck Restoration project. Owler Beck is a relatively small water course that drains an area south of Wakefield including Notton, Newmillerdam and Kettlethorpe amongst others, and runs into the River Calder. The area is largely agricultural with small villages scattered throughout. Recent walkovers and analyses suggest the most significant pressure on the watercourse is sediment. Surveys have indicated that invertebrate populations are likely being affected by this excess silt. My project, running just over a year now, aims at reducing sediment input into the watercourse through various means across the catchment. This includes, but is not limited to, creating reed beds, reinforcing banks, planting trees, removing invasive non-native species from riverbanks (mainly Himalayan balsam) as well as putting in ‘woody debris’ features that help diversify flow such as brash berms and flow deflectors.

I also help delivery of a similar project on the River Went near Pontefract, running through Ackworth, Wentbridge and Kirk Smeaton. Here we are looking at doing similar works which not only help reduce sediment input, but also decreases phosphate and improves habitat for fish.

For more information

You can find out more about what’s going on in the Lower Calder Catchment by going to our Actionable Plan. Or if you have any queries, or want to find out how you can get involved in the area, then please get in touch – alec.boyd@ywt.org.uk