Trout in the Town Blog

23/11/2015 - 23:13



It was a great pleasure to be involved at the end of this summer with a vibrant "Open Village" event in Clayton West in the Kirklees region of West Yorkshire. As well as the many musical, local business and art exhibitions - a local angler and wildlife enthusiast Phil Slater had arranged an event to help reconnect people with their river. Alongside Chris Firth MBE of the Don Catchment Rivers Trust we hoped to increase the awareness of the river and the challenges it faces.

So many of the local families that came to the riverside activities (including bug dipping and fly casting lessons)came away with a real enthusiasm for the river and its future care and enhancement. It was a great testament to Phil's own passion for the river and the commitment he has made to see things continue to improve on this tributary of the Don (in 2015, right down at the confluence with the River Don, the first salmon parr was recorded on the Dearne in an Environment Agency survey).

The river faces many problems - from discharges of poor quality water, to invasive plants like giant hogweed and Himalayan balsam and habitat degradation through industrialisation and development. In places it escapes the worst of these impacts - and here there are pockets of wild trout and grayling populations. But the presence of these pollution-sensitive species are patchy and need all the help that they can get.

The video below covers the wide diversity of events that made up the open village event "Made In Clayton West".

Watch from 3 min 44 seconds to see Phil Slater explain the Friends of the Dearne project:


You can follow Phil and friends in their bid to protect and enhance the Dearne on their facebook page:
Facebook page for Friends of the Dearne

And you can read a short report (including the video above) on this summer's event on the Kirklees TV page here:
"Made in Clayton West" page on Kirklees TV

20/11/2015 - 12:02

It seems to be quite a common view that "nature" is a "nice to have" once we have taken care of jobs, business and the economy in general. A bit of a luxury when we've got some loose change left over from taking care of progress...

The problem with that is it misses the point that nobody will be doing business/earning money without functioning, healthy ecosystems. You'd struggle to breathe, for example, if there isn't enough photosynthesis happening.

The epic (and fantastic) project to restore rivers in five catchments in the south west of the UK (by Westcountry Rivers Trust) included work by independent financial analysts "NEF". The costs of doing habitat improvement and restoration were smaller than the economic value that they added to the Westcountry region.

In cases where angling passport schemes benefited from habitat improvement - that showed the highest Return On Investment. A staggering £4.50 return on each £1 spent on environmental restoration. Of course, because you cannot track and measure everything - even that figure is likely to be an underestimate.

So feel free to point people who feel that nature is a luxury towards the full report from NEF here: http://wrt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/WRT_FINAL-REPORT1.pdf and the WRT blog post summary here: http://wrt.org.uk/river-improvements-show-great-economic-and-environmental-returns/
07/10/2015 - 15:54
A brand-new panel explaining how and why the habitat works have been done on the Lyme Brook in Newcastle-under-Lyme has now been installed. This is an invaluable addition to the existing works because it allows walkers and other park-users to really appreciate the transformation.
The panel has been installed next to the first feature (a new gravel spawning riffle) that was installed at the beginning of this project. Passers-by can now learn about all the activities at that point and also as they follow the path along the stream up through the park.


26/08/2015 - 16:47

Jack Spees lays out some great examples and surprising facts (and some absolutely remarkable radio-tagging data) in his video presentation.

All this in a little over 15 mins?

Have a brew and a biscuit and check it out.





29/07/2015 - 20:17



It has been a little while now since flood-waters (and how to manage them) were front page news. The dredging lobby got their wish - despite the negligible effect this would/will have on protection or recovery in the event that similar rainfall hits Somerset.

Little attention has been paid to one isolated part of Somerset that didn't flood during the deluge - the part where upland floodwater storage measures had been put in place...

Ten years down the line, progress towards adopting DEFRA's "Making Space for Water" policy is glacially-slow.

This progress seems even poorer given that these notions of managing flood risk have been with us since the 1920's and earlier...

Why should this be the case?

Dr. Karen Potter has been a Biologist, A Town Planner and now researches the science behind how and why certain ideas are blocked in Society - and how some ideas are Solidified and Enacted.

Watch her fascinating talk for all the insights into why we are currently locked into cosmetic flood prevention measures to pacify the electorate on a short-term basis (whilst society is denied the more effective measures that are known to exist and are feasible to apply).

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