CONSOLE case study in North Yorkshire
This month we focus on the environmental improvement across a whole catchment in Esk Valley in the UK.
The CONSOLE project, focuses on "CONtract SOLutions for Effective and lasting delivery of agri- environmental-climate public goods by EU agriculture and forestry".
The network covers the whole catchment and 30% of the land area is farmed by Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund (CSFF) network members. A key focus is what can be done to improve water quality across the catchment, especially as it is a salmon and trout river and sediment in the water is a major factor in the lack of recruitment of juvenile migratory fish. Water quality is generally good across the catchment and it is of Good Ecological Status according to the Water Framework Directive. Many other additional environmental improvements have been added, especially regarding sedimentation, nitrate and phosphate pollution due to the agricultural and farming activities in the area.
After a period of three to seven years (according to the farmers’ needs), humus content is determined again by a second soil sampling. An increase in humus content is converted into additional tons of CO2 stored in soil. Farmers receive a success fee of the 30€ per additional ton of CO2 stored, which is financed by companies who voluntarily compensate their unavoidable CO2 emissions. The amount of CO2 purchased by the companies cannot be traded. After the payment, farmers must guarantee that the increased humus content remains in place for at least five years.
This requirement is verified by a third soil sampling taken five years after the payment. Decreases in humus levels lead to partial or complete refunding of the success fee. Contracts and the carbon verifications is organized and managed by the association “Verein Ökoregion Kaindorf” while emission trading is managed by an own Ltd.
Objectives of this case studies:
Support for the Pearl Mussel and Salmon Recovery Project;
Improvements to water quality across the whole catchment by tackling sediment and pollution issues;
Maintenance and support for historic and traditional National Park landscapes and features;
Address disconnect between maintenance of the iconic traditional landscapes in the catchment and the systems designed to reward this;
Improving skills and understanding of issues and the measures to tackle them.
There is a long history of the action in the Rivers Esk catchment seeking to improve its ecological status so that an iconic species previously found in the river such as the Fresh-water Pearl Mussel and species a such as salmon and migratory trout do not ultimately go extinct. As a salmon and trout river that has supported recreational fishing, previous action and funding has often focused at the economic level. The CSFF is focused on the environmental and he ecological aspects of the catchment, specifically from the perspective of those farming and managing the land. The CSFF aims to support efforts by the Esk Pearl Mussel and Salmon Recovery Project to re-introduce the Pearl Mussel to bolster the remnants of the existing population, through improving the water quality in the river. This needs collective action from farmers in both upper and lower reaches of the catchment to reduce pollution and sedimentation problems.
For more information download the case study