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Water Crowfoot coming back

Published on February 11th, 2014 by

ranunculus hoff beckWe walked by the Hoff Beck today. It is dropping away now after, not surprisingly, being in flood; though with more heavy rain expected tomorrow…  It was really spring-like out there; cool air, but the sun felt wonderful on our faces.  No silt up here, with the blast of water this winter carrying it all away, along with a lot of the farm-damaged banks.  There is, however, water crowfoot in abundance, as you can see from the photo.  Last year there were a lot of generally large (30cm+) wild trout in this beck, and even grayling, almost as far upstream as Rutter falls, where this photo was taken.  With the collapse in grayling population on the Eden, I doubt that we will find this species in the beck this year, although I am very hopeful for the trout.

Rutter Hoff Eden

The water crowfoot helps the river in so many ways.  It stabilises the substrate, absorbs a lot of the run-off nitrate, which would otherwise fuel an algal bloom, and provides a purchase for all manner of invertebrates.  It is also cover for the trout and, in times of drought will substantially ‘hold-up’ the water in channels and small pools, providing invaluable habitat for the river wildlife.   This protected species is making a rapid come-back on this beck, which is recovering after decades of agricultural abuse.

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