Trout in the Town Blog

10/05/2016 - 12:42

I'm very pleased to be able to say that life is starting to recolonise after the extensive works to open up the culverted section of the Porter Brook at Matilda Street.

It was a delight to receive the photos on Twitter showing some of the aquatic creatures that are beginning to colonise the daylighted section of channel.



Some of the different beasties that have already moved in include Baetidae (agile darter nymphs), Gammaridae (freshwater shrimp), Heptageniidae (flat "stone-clinging" mayfly nymphs), as well as Oligochaete worms, Caseless caddis of the Hydropsyche and Rhyacophila genuses.

Hopefully the newly-created variation in channel depth, velocity and structure will provide lots of opportunities for more species and individuals for a long time to come.

If you live within striking distance of Sheffield and you want to get in on future invertebrate monitoring and other works in the streams and rivers of the city, you can email them on sheffieldsprite@gmail.com and also see their website at http://www.sheffieldsprite.com/
21/04/2016 - 11:30


Richard Paterson from ARM and SPRITE doing his best Phantom of the Opera impression (left)

I was delighted to meet with and give a talk to the folks at ARM in Sheffield yesterday (thank you for the invite and hosting Lotte Aweimrin). Richard Paterson of ARM also happens to be doing a fantastic voluntary job of collaboratively running SPRITE (the Sheffield "Trout in The Town" affiliated chapter) with other committee members in what passes for his "spare" time too.

ARM are responsible for lots of the electronic magic that happens inside your tablets, phones and other electronic devices - they are also taking an active role in providing charitable support to organisations doing good works. You can see more detail on this aspect of their business on their Corporate Responsibility pages.

I wanted to thank all of the ARM staff for listening to my presentation and also the excellent questions afterwards. SPRITE will ensure that your support is put to great use on the rivers in and around Sheffield.
12/04/2016 - 14:45

Here is a short video showing just the first phase (out of three phases we have completed so far) of works to re-introduce structural variety into a historically abused watercourse on the River Trent system in Staffordshire.

Wild trout are slowly making a comeback on the main river and - although water quality is a constant worry - there was a huge scope to improve the chances of fish to breed in a small tributary called the Lyme Brook.



With the willing support of the local council (Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council - through Becky Allen), the project was able to become a reality. It was delivered as a partnership project under the Catchment Based Approach (the local hosts for the Trent Valley Partnership are the folks at Groundwork West Midlands). The Environment Agency (as well as Staffordshire Wildlife Trust) are other key members of the partnership.

For this specific work, Matt Lawrence (E.A.), Steve Cook (Groundwork) and Lynne Morgan (Groundwork) arranged funding and logistics for each of the physical works events (that involved contractors/plant hire as well as volunteer days). I had the most fun job of designing the appropriate interventions and directing exactly what Geoff needed to do with the mini-digger to re-sculpt the river into a more functional habitat. Additional workshops featuring volunteers from the Friends of Lyme Valley Parkway (and including "Love Your River" events) put the finishing touches to the planting and gravel introduction (which let me do some final tweaks to make sure everything was going to work to the maximum).

It should be of interest to many people that the brook has seen some extremely high water events since the habitat features have been installed - and there have been no problems with stability of the structures.

13/01/2016 - 18:34
Jerome and I scoping out bits of the Porter Brook - finding a big weir
Continuing with the recent theme of the radical deculverting and habitat improvement work on Sheffield's Porter Brook - here is a quick update on a day spent walking and talking about potential further opportunities. The morning and some of the afternoon was spent in the company of Jerome Masters (EA Fisheries) in a combination of searching out potential sites to assess and then discussing options along with Sam Thorn and Jack Foxall of Sheffield City Council.

The series of short sections might be possible to combine with some more planned deculverting work on another City Centre Tributary (The Sheaf) for further improvements to the connectivity of the Don Catchment - and also the quality and variety of available river corridor habitat.

It will be my job in the coming weeks to come up with a variety of optional scenarios for each of the sites. Depending on the various constraints of either funding, available surrounding land and existing infrastructure - there could be several options for each site. Some of these could be long term aspirations (requiring significant funding and local stakeholder buy-in). Others might be much more simple and relatively inexpensive to achieve.

Hopefully, when taken together, the combined benefits that can accrue from these interventions might just make life a bit easier and more sustainable into the future for our urban river corridor flora and fauna.

Previous work re-shaping the Riverbed of the Porter Brook to improve habitat

07/01/2016 - 12:53


One year into the Hogsmill Pollution Patrol - 470 reports of pollution being followed up.

Read all about it here:

http://www.southeastriverstrust.org/happy-anniversary-to-the-hogsmill-pollution-patrol/
18/12/2015 - 15:50
Picking up from my previous post of the in-channel habitat creation - here are just a few photos to give an impression of the site's previous states.

This gives a bit more of an idea of how little of the river was allowed to see the open air until pretty recently. Sheffield City Council have been steadily working to expose this buried watercourse...

View downstream from the road bridge note the balcony/gantry on the right in the foreground



Same view immediately after the in-channel habitat-works (note balcony/gantry on right of frame in foreground



Starting to remove the brick-arch culverting



At the downstream end of the removed brick culvert - a series of steel RSJs can now be seen spanning the river. These previously supported the concrete floor of a factory that was built on top of the river



Here is a picture of all the RJSs (complete with poetic graffiti)



The same view after the in-channel works and removal of RSJs

So, a great deal of credit deserves to go to Sheffield City Council and their planning/landscape people. I will be putting together video of this project (which should hopefully include some drone footage to give a good overall impression).

Watch this space...

Paul
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