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Rivers and Streams

The North East Region is dissected by a number of important river systems. These include the Tweed, Coquet, Tyne, Wear and Tees. The mosaic of features found in rivers and streams supports a wide range of plants and animals. For example, riffles and pools support aquatic species, and exposed sediments such as shingle beds are important for invertebrates, notably ground beetles, spiders and craneflies. Marginal and bankside vegetation support an array of wildflowers and animals. Rivers and streams often provide a wildlife corridor link between fragmented habitats in intensively farmed regions.

A range of habitats are represented in the Region’s rivers and streams, from cold, fast flowing upland streams to meandering lowland rivers. They support a number of important species, including otter, water vole, white-clawed crayfish, river jelly lichen Collema dichotomum (all of which are priorities for action in the UK BAP), salmon and lamprey. Some river systems are of particular note for their floating beds of water-crowfoot Ranunculus spp., a habitat listed on Annex 1 of the EU ‘Habitats Directive’. The river gravels of the River South Tyne are of particular importance for the examples of calaminarian grasslands that they support.

Within the North East Region two river systems, the Coquet and the Tweed are notified as SSSIs. The River Tweed is also a SAC in recognition of the international importance of many of its features.