A PICTURE postcard river is getting a £2m cash injection from the National Lottery to improve water quality and give native species a fighting chance to survive.

The River Rye stretching from the edge of the Cleveland Hills above Osmotherley through the North York Moors National Park to Hovingham along with tributaries, the rivers Seph and Riccal will get the cash injection, over the next four years.

The aim is to improve the water quality and conserve the habitats of rare and threatened species such as the rare and mysterious Alcathoe bat, which lives in woodland around the Rye, and the white-clawed crayfish, threatened by aggressive non native crayfish.

They will also be creating natural flood schemes to manage water levels and encouraging people to learn more and become volunteers. In total £3.4m will be invested including grants form the Moors Park Authority.

Briony Fox, Director of Conservation at the Moors Park said players of the lottery had made the grant for the Ryevitalise project possible. She added: "We are absolutely delighted with this news. The funding will allow us to work with local people, farmers and community groups to help them take ownership of the rivers, ensuring these rich ecosystems teem with life for generations to come. We’ll also be creating lots of opportunities for volunteer involvement."

Lottery Heritage Fund Director David Renwick said: "Landscape and nature form the bedrock of our culture and heritage, funding it is one of the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s key priorities. Communities across the UK are becoming increasingly disconnected from their natural environments and never has it been more urgent to aid nature's recovery.

"This is a fantastic scheme, built on a strong partnership that aims to revitalise the Rye’s heritage by restoring large swathes of waterways in and around the North York Moors while reconnecting people to the river landscape around them so that everyone, people, wildlife, and cultural heritage, all benefit thanks to players of the National Lottery."