A team from Environmental Land Management Solutions Ltd will be out in all weathers planting 70,000 sphagnum moss plugs (a small bouquet of sphagnum plants) in selected areas across Ilkley Moor. They have been contracted by Moors for the Future Partnership at the invitation of Friends of Ilkley Moor and Bradford Countryside Service.
The aim is to re-introduce these critical bog building moss species that have been lost on parts of the moor and restore areas back to functioning bog. Functioning sphagnum dominated bogs are the best method of capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They are also highly absorbent and store lots of rainwater, thus slowing the flow of water off the moor.
Moors for the Future is a partnership of public and private organisations set up to restore, protect and promote moorland. They have been successful in obtaining nearly £2million of Defra/EU funding for its Building Blocks project to improve moorland biodiversity, water quality and control run-off from South Pennine moorlands. As well as sphagnum seeding they will also be installing 229 mini dams made from peat or stone across the moor which are designed to slow the flow of water and improve conditions for bog species to grow. The dams will be installed during the new year and will coincide with Bradford Council’s and the Environment Agency’s natural flood management project on Backstone Beck catchment.
Owen Wells, chairman of Friends of Ilkley Moor commented that the Friends enthusiastically support this scheme and are very keen to see mini-dams put into Black Beck and the associated drains to try and expand Crawshaw Moss, currently the most prominent bog on the Moor.
[Picture shows Michael Trewick of ELM Solutions Ltd planting out some 70,000 sphganum moss plugs on Ilkley Moor.]