News

Wednesday, 19th October 2016

Over 100 guests attended a Wild Trout Trust evening at the Savile Club in Mayfair yesterday evening to present the 2016 awards for the best river habitat conservation projects. The evening was introduced by WTT  Chairman, David Fraser and Director, Shaun Leonard, with the awards presented by Yvette De Garis of Thames Water, who generously sponsor the Conservation Awards. 

The Conservation Awards recognise and encourage excellence in the management and conservation of wild trout habitat, celebrating the efforts, skills and ingenuity of projects carried out both by professionals and by grass roots voluntary organisations.

The Wild Trout Hero Award recognises an individual who has made a significant difference to the future of the UK’s favourite fish – the wild brown trout.

The winners are:

The Environment Agency, with the angling clubs of the Upper Ribble, won the Contribution to Wild Trout Conservation for their ‘Going Wild’ Project on the River Ribble in Lancashire.

The clubs and syndicates that fish the upper 35 miles of Lancashire’s River Ribble decided to entirely cease stocking the river with farmed trout, first in 2007. They now enjoy wild trout fishing, with one club member reporting a catch (and release) of 27 fish including 6 fish over 2lb! The change in policy was based on a wide range of evidence gathered by the EA and clubs, and this has allowed club committees to make informed, evidence-based decisions on the best use of their members’ monies in the provision of the best possible angling experience. The wholesale shift in stock management policy is also being combined with fencing and river corridor habitat improvement projects involving also the Ribble Rivers Trust, to give the wild breeding populations the best possible chances in life.

The East Yorkshire Rivers Trust ‘Lowthorpe Mill Diversion, Foston Beck’ won the Medium-Scale Habitat Enhancement Scheme.

An ambitious project to create a new channel around an ancient water mill on one of England most northerly chalk streams. The mill structures were acting as a sediment trap and barrier to fish migration, but this was a sensitive historic site that needed a sensitive approach. The solution was to create 250m of new channel which is fished by the Foston Beck Angling Club, who also monitor the river for invertebrate life. The new section of river has already been colonised by wild trout and the number and diversity of rivers flies have increased remarkably quickly. An ambitious project, expertly executed, that is already showing real benefits for trout and other wildlife.

The Rivers Corridor Group Project, River Derwent/Bassenthwaite system won the ‘Large-Scale Habitat Enhancement Scheme’.

This project has achieved enormous change for the Cumbrian Derwent system since 2005, through a remarkable cooperative effort to shift land-use and stream habitat. There is a very broad, level of local involvement that includes schools, farmers and angling clubs as well as the Rivers Trust, the Woodland Trust, National Trust and Government agencies. The group have carried out over 120 habitat improvement projects and addressed issues such as bank erosion that were exacerbated by the 2009 and 2015 floods. A superb example of a diverse, long-term partnership tackling issues on a flood-prone river.

Rob Mungovan, Wild Trout Hero 2016

Rob's day job is as an ecologist with South Cambridgeshire District Council but, for wild trout, he comes into his own working on the rivers across eastern central England. Rob is a truly passionate wild trout fisher and an equally passionate advocate for the conservation and improvement of our rivers, a very worthy Wild Trout Hero.

Monday, 17th October 2016

Gareth Pedley will be running another Practical Demostration Day in Yorkshire as part of the series of events sponsored by Yorkshire Water. The day will be run in conjunction with our chums at Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, on 26th October.

The site is Skeeby Beck, a tributary of the Swale. All the details are in the attachment, here.

Thursday, 13th October 2016

The latest Riverfly Partnership newsletter is here.

It includes important guidance on invertebrate sampling during the trout and salmon spawning season. 

 

Monday, 10th October 2016

As part of the river rehabilitation work supported by Yorkshire Water, there will be two demonstration days led by Jon Grey at the National Trust property at East Riddlesden Hall.

Two small tributaries join the Aire within the boundaries of the property: one is completely overwhelmed in willow scrub while the other is completely exposed and has been subject to livestock grazing.

The aim is to rehabilitate both to maximise spawning and juvenile habitat potential using simple techniques that conform to exemptions under the new environmental permitting regulations. These are the sort of low-cost approaches that anglers or other groups could easily undertake during work parties on their own waters.

The format of each day (22nd and 29th October) will be similar, running from 1000-1500 (meeting 0945 in the lower car park at East Riddlesden Hall). Participants need only bring suitable outdoor clothing and wellies, and gardening gloves. Loppers, pruning saws, or bow saws could be useful but not essential.

Please contact Jon Grey if you are interested, to help cater with numbers.

Wednesday, 5th October 2016

Weirs are a problem for both resident trout and sea trout as they act as barriers for them to migrate upstream to spawn and downstream to go to sea or find new territories as they grow to adult size. Weirs also disrupt the way that sediment would naturally be eroded and deposited in a river, creating pools of sediment above the weir and excessive erosion below. For more on the impacts of weirs, click here.

Projects that re-connect rivers fragmented by weirs and other barriers is a core part of the WTT’s work.  Wherever practical, the preferred solution is to remove the weir or make a 'notch' to reduce the height and concentrate flow, rather than install (often expensive) fish passes.

Here are a three of examples of WTT projects that have removed weirs or notched weirs in August and September 2016. One is a small project on the River Meon in Hampshire delivered by Andy Thomas (details below).

The second is a larger project on the Brailsford Brook in Derbyshire managed by Tim Jacklin which removed 5 weirs in under three hours ! For some before and after photos of that project, click here.   

The third project involved notching weirs on the Eastburn Beck in Yorkshire. This project was carried out by Jonny Grey of the WTT and Pete Turner of the Environment Agency, with help from volunteers from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Bradford Environmental Action Trust. Click here for the story of that project. 

River Meon, Hampshire

Access for migrating fish has been improved along with 150m of channel on the upper Meon at Riplington. WTT delivered an advisory visit to this site in 2014   and identified an old concrete weir structure that was responsible for both holding up fish migrations and also degrading local habitat.

Last week the invert of the concrete weir was finally removed back to the original bed level. The wings of the weir were retained to act as a flume to ensure that the existing downstream plunge pool doesn’t become completely silted up. In addition to the weir removal, a further six pool & run features were created using a tracked excavator. Pools were deliberately created in the lee of existing hawthorn trees to provide optimum holding habitat for pre and post spawning brown and sea trout.

This project was funded by the Pasco James Fund. This fund is regularly topped up thanks to the 3 Fly Competition held each year at Meon Springs.

river meon riplington weir removal

Monday, 3rd October 2016

The EA are looking for two people to lead the fish monitoring programme across Sussex and Hampshire.  This is an exciting opportunity to join the Environment Agency  for someone who has experience in electric-fishing, fish identification and number-crunching.   The vacancies are for 12 months.

Details are here. The post reference is 2944, Environmental Monitoring Office

Monday, 3rd October 2016

A new report published by the IUCN  (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) UK identifies the importance of river restoration for biodiversity.

It recognises that:

'Historically, the conservation movement has paid relatively little attention to rivers. Various types of wetland are very well represented in protected areas, but rivers themselves are hard to conserve in this way, not least because they are often the focus of so much human activity. Yet, rivers are of huge importance for the biodiversity they hold, and the ecosystem services they deliver'. 

The key messages of the report are: 

  • Healthy rivers are important for people and nature, but much historic damage has caused serious problems that now need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
  • River restoration is important for achieving biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
  • Working with nature allows us to achieve many otherwise conflicting objectives.
  • River restoration, working with natural processes and natural flood management, is a cost-effective response to changing climate.

To download the report, click here.

 

Monday, 19th September 2016

Congratulations to WTT Trout in the Town Programme Manager, Dr Paul Gaskell and the partnership who delivered the Porter Brook Pocket Park Project – it has just won the prestigious 2016 Canal & Rivers Trust award for "Contribution to the Built Environment".

This is a project that we hope will inspire others to free their urban rivers from culverts and create a three-fold ‘win’:  

–      a win for the river and its wildlife,

–      a win for the local residents who have a pocket park with a living stream to enjoy,

–      a win for flood defence as the design incorporates flood storage for a spatey river

Paul will use the considerable experience gained on this project to help urban ‘Trout in the Town’ groups plan and deliver similar daylighting projects.

Take a look at Paul’s blog post here – which includes some footage of him catching the first trout in the de-culverted river for (probably) 160 years.

Type 'Porter' in the search box (top right) to find all the blog posts about this project.

The project was a Partnership between Sheffield City Council, the Environment Agency and the Wild Trout Trust.

 

Friday, 16th September 2016

The River Forth Fisheries Trust are recruiting three new members of staff to help deliver RiverLife: Almond Avon, an ambitious catchment restoration project aiming to reconnect communities and wildlife to their local rivers.

The roles are: Capital Projects Manager, Community Engagement Officer and a Volunteer Coordinator.

For more details and to view the job descriptions, click here.

Monday, 12th September 2016

Mike Blackmore of the Wild Trout Trust recently ran a practical demonstration day on the River Test in Hampshire, together with Rupert Kelton of the Wessex Chalkstreams & Rivers Trust, the Test & Itchen Association and hosted by riparian owner, Richard Maitland.

The day, attended by seventeen people including many full-time Test keepers, demonstrated a range of simple, natural habitat improvement techniques. The mighty band of volunteers ate through the work, putting eleven large habitat features into a 200m river reach, including hinged-in trees, brushwood berms and a number of big log deflectors, created from huge sycamores and alders. Mike withstood the pressure of an audience of professional river-keepers as he dropped both trees right onto the necessary (and pretty tight) spots!

 

River Habitat Workshop River Test Sept 2016

Small willows hinged into the margins of the Test make great habitat for trout and many other species.

Test River Habitat workshop

 

Big trees work well too!

River habitat workshop River Test

Mike Blackmore fells a huge sycamore, subsequently chopped up to make log deflectors to provide habitat variety in a fairly uniform river reach.

 

 

 

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