Trout in the Town Blog

02/07/2013 - 19:47

Another of the MANY great talks that the participants in the 2013 Urban River Champions Conclave benefited from was Professor Lerner's account of how the Aire Rivers Trust has set up the plan for the restoration of Bradford Beck.

I felt that it was important to set up the whole Conclave by bracketing the subject of Resilience with two talks; the first of which was Phil Sheridan's deeply personal and incredibly inspirational dissection of the qualities of resilience that we encounter (and require) during each of our "lived experiences". The second key talk was very deliberately designed to expose the bare nuts and bolts of a highly structured series of practical solutions to many of the problems that Trout in the Town groups routinely encounter. In other words, the second talk offered one possible "route map" of how to turn the inspiration and personal resilience identified and instilled by Phil's talk into a series of effective an efficient actions.

This second "bracketing" talk was, of course, Professor Lerner's presentation. I've reproduced it in the video below so that both of the absolutely key expert presentations from the 2013 event are available as a reminder for the Conclave attendees - as well as for the benefit of anyone who may need their guidance. They make for a great "paired viewing".

Enjoy and, if you are in the process of caring for an urban river, take notes! :)

Restoring Bradford Beck from Paul Gaskell on Vimeo.

01/07/2013 - 09:49
Friends of Bradford Beck have taken a simple but profound step in replacing the series of signs that were first erected in the 1970s. The signs previously warned people to stay away from the dangerously polluted waters. Now that there have been significant strides made in improving water quality - these signs are misleading. They were just one more reason for local people to either overlook or actively avoid valuing and engaging with their local river corridor.

Local newspaper coverage here:
Telegraph and Argus

28/06/2013 - 15:49

I'll sandwich this quick-fire montage that captures some of what went on at May's Urban Conclave weekend between Phil Sheridan's full presentation (blogged previously here: http://urbantrout.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/urban-conclave-if-youve-ever-felt.html)and a future blog post featuring Prof. David Lerner's excellent talk (video edit still on the "to do" list...).

There were many more fantastic talks that I was unable to video unfortunately (and I only chose to film the presentations by people who I absolutely knew wouldn't be fazed by the camera pointed at them!)

The video embedded below documents the meeting of around 25 core members who run Urban River restoration projects from around the UK including: Wales (Rivers Taff and Ogmore), Salford, Sheffield, Newbury, Burnley, London, Huddersfield, Bradford, Keighley and Wigan.

It was an honour to host them all and to hear all of their reports, stories, trials and tribulations. I also believe that the weekend was truly inspirational for all participants - a vital factor given the many set-backs and nay-sayers that every person who runs a project like these will encounter time and again. I also look forward to the next time we run this event - as there were several groups who were unable to attend on the specific date of the 2013 event. For the two previous events, see my blog posts here: http://urbantrout.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/triumphant-urban-river-conclave.html and here: http://urbantrout.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/return-of-urban-conclave-even-bigger.html

Music was composed, played, recorded and donated by John Pearson (thanks John) and I've used it on a couple of videos now. Our thanks to the Kings Arms in Salford (a cracking pub), to Evan Evans brewery for the signature "Mayfly" bitter, all at Salford Friendly Anglers, All of the speakers and participants from Trout in the Town groups from across the UK and especially to the Fishmonger's Company for enabling this event to take place via their funding support.

27/06/2013 - 14:40
Just as we are getting to a point that we can start to move onto the first steps on agreeing some in-channel habitat improvements; the recovering River Erewash reminds us of the potential that the local River Erewash Foundation is fighting for with the support of the Wild Trout Trust's Trout in the Town project.

Well done to all at REF for continuing to fight the good fight. :) :)

http://derbyshireonthefly.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/payment-in-kind.html

26/06/2013 - 08:32

Here is a short video that was part of a talk that Mike Clough invited me to give at the conference launching "INNSA" (http://www.innsa.org/). I've added some explanatory voiceover - in place of me talking and pointing at the screen in person :)

The clip explains why invasive plants that die back in winter cause huge increases in "wash-load" sediments (i.e. sediment that is washed into the river from the surrounding land - rather than derived from existing river-bed material).

When you realise that this can bury and suffocate spawning beds, the problem becomes much more obvious than the situation you see in high summer (when growth is lush). The loss of large areas of spawning beds has the potential to be far more serious in terms of reducing the population of fish in your river than occasional (and still serious) poaching. It is just that the fish impacted by silt accumulation never had a chance at life in order to become large enough to be visible victims (unlike poached adult fish).

I know lots of anglers who would be outraged by people illegally netting their rivers, but who "kind of know that invasive plants are not ideal" - but are maybe not especially worried about them (after all they look quite nice, and the bees quite like Himalayan balsam).

This is also the same issue as when fields are ploughed right up to the riverbank (especially when the field is ploughed down the valley slope (instead of along the slope, parallel to the river). These problems are often compounded by the alteration of the natural width of the river channel - which can cause the settling of more of this fine wash-load than would normally be the case. It is a serious issue, and it is time that many more of us get far more agitated about the huge stands of balsam and knotweed that line the banks of many of our rivers (especially on the spawning tributaries - and reaches where main-river spawning takes place).

25/06/2013 - 11:20
I recently hosted Justin, the winning bidder for my lot in the Monnow Rivers Association auction. The WTT has worked closely with the MRA for a long time, so it was a very pleasurable way to support their ongoing efforts.

Justin did a great trip report of our urban adventure with photos here: http://theriverbeat.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/river-don-and-tributary-sheffield-south.html

Enjoy