The conservation work planned under the SUNRISE project covers 5 key themes:
Each of the project sites have been selected as an area where these tasks can improve the existing habitat for wildlife and where communities can access and enjoy those improvements, but also to improve or create a network of inter-connected and improved habitats for the species which use them.
For that reason, all of the sites are located along a water course, either the River Trent or one of its tributaries; the Lyme Brook in Newcastle, Fowlea Brook, Ford Green Brook and Causely Brook in Stoke. These water courses provide important corridors along which wildlife moves through the otherwise inhospitable urban environment.
Each site has, or will have, its own tailoured work plan so the allocated funding provides the best possible enhancements over the lifetime of the project. The majority of the work undertaken by the SUNRISE project, because of the scale or complexity of the tasks, will be undertaken using specialist contractors with specialist tools and appropriate experience. These contractors will be supervised by the project partners.
Why are these changes needed?
Stoke and Newcastle have a huge number of green space areas compared to many other towns and cities. But what often appear to be totally natural areas are often heavily modified, the result of abandoned industry for example. These areas are often isolated from other, similar areas limiting the opportunities for the wild species which use them to interact or move from one site to another.
The SUNRISE Project aims to bring these areas closer to their potential for supporting wildlife while reducing or removing barriers which prevent species using these areas to the full. This will help some species which have been rare or absent from the area to start using these areas again, and hopefully will encourage other species, not typically seen in cities, to expand their range into the project area. Improvements over the years in water quality and other river issues have seen species such as brown trout, otter and kingfisher start using the River Trent again after long absences due to pollution and habitat degradation. SUNRISE may be the change that opens the door to that other species returning or appearing in the project area.