A NEW effort is being made to protect fragile eco-systems on the North York Moors by improving water quality.

The Call of Nature Yorkshire effort is focusing on the River Esk and surrounding coastal streams catchments.

The waterways are home to rare species, including the endangered freshwater pearl mussel, water voles and otters. However, water quality is not as good as it should be, putting the eco-systems at risk.

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The Environment Agency-funded campaign aims to raise awareness of the hazards caused by poorly-maintained septic tanks, cesspits and package treatment plants.

Partnership officer Kate Bailey said: “We know some watercourses are affected by elevated levels of the nutrient phosphate.

“Common sources include detergents, sewage, animal manures and wash-off from fields and farmyards. These levels can trigger excessive plant growth which can have a detrimental effect on the river by depleting oxygen in the water and blocking sunlight.”

For more visit callofnatureyorkshire.info