Trout in the Town Blog

03/11/2014 - 13:22

We will soon be able to bring you a video that details just one of the dozen entries to this year's hard-fought conservation awards. The standards of works submitted were incredibly high - with many projects that could have easily taken the winning spots in previous years of competition.

http://www.flyfishing.co.uk/news/fly-fishing-features/features/fishinguk/6862-chalkstreams-%E2%80%93-it%E2%80%99s-looking-good.html

31/10/2014 - 09:25

Worth bearing in mind when responding to hydropower proposals,

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/hydropower-as-major-methane-emitter-18246

24/10/2014 - 12:48


Just three examples of the exciting projects that Trout in the Town is supporting at the moment as part of various partnerships that are working to get urban river restoration projects off the ground.

Holme Valley Vision: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/cash-plea-as-huddersfield-valley-unites-to-improve-river-1-6904319, will be launched with an exhibition in Holmfirth Market Hall from Thursday October 30 to Saturday November 1, which will tell the history of the river and its ecology, and ask the public what improvements they want to see. Come along, and if you think it is a good idea, please consider donating to their "River2015" campaign that will support their effort: The aim of River2015 is to make improvements along its route, which takes in Honley, Holme and Holmfirth, starting by recruiting 2,015 people to donate £20.15, £201.50 or £2,015.

Myself and my colleague Tim Jacklin have recently been involved with strategy meetings and also a number of walkover visits on sites in the urban Trent catchment. We, along with Nick Mott of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust will be proposing and designing (as well as helping to deliver) habitat improvement projects in these urban reaches as part of a great Catchment Based Approach partnership between many organisations including the E.A., Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, the Wild Trout Trust and more. Liz Horton, Nick Mott and Bernadette Noake are heading up the Staffs Trent Valley CaBA Team.

Also a really exciting bit of work planned for next spring is our involvement with the Sheffield CC efforts to improve ecological conditions in heavily engineered sections of the Porter Brook right in Sheffield city centre. Trout in the Town has submitted proposals for measures that will augment existing schemes by introducing simple, yet significant, additional ecological and geomorphological processes into improved reaches of the brook: https://twitter.com/OneBigRiver/status/525044740094722048
10/10/2014 - 12:50
The presumptions that dredging will a.) Reduce flood risk b.) Be benign for life in/around the river are misplaced and potentially dangerous.

Please watch the great videos below to see how we can do Flood Risk Management much better than we currently do (and far, far better than what is commonly being suggested). If we don't get on top of this now - the decisions that are about to be taken will really f&*£ things up for people and environments at risk of flooding.

What we should do at the scale of our properties:




What we should do at the scale of our neighbourhoods



What we should do at the scale of our River Catchments

06/10/2014 - 15:30

Following on from the most recent blog entry (and very brief description of a method used by volunteers); please see the short 3-minute video below for a demonstration of how SPRITE members have successfully developed and implemented an efficient and robust technique for planting water crowfoot in freestone rivers (which would also work very well in more lowland settings too).

The method has a degree of resistance to grazing pressure during early phases of establishment and has also proven to be quite robust to the higher shear velocities experienced during spates on upland rivers.

Note the group's vital adherence to considerations for full permissions - including the requirement to source the plants from within the same river system and also from sites that are free from known biosecurity risk. Consultation with local Environment Agency (or equivalent local watercourse authority) is a way for volunteer groups to find out what permissions will be required in specific locations.

SPRITE methods for Ranunculus planting from Paul Gaskell on Vimeo.

29/09/2014 - 21:56



Here is a video showing just one of a long series of ongoing surveys on a site that was impacted by dredging activities. The Environment Agency re-introduced large boulders and also installed some marginal plants to help the site to begin to recover. Subsequent to that, volunteers from SPRITE- a group set up in Sheffield through the Trout in the Town project applied for permission and carried out re-planting of water crowfoot to improve the structural and invertebrate community diversity within the channel. The method for doing this in spate rivers is highly original and was developed primarily by Dave Woodhead - a central and long-standing SPRITE member, with Ranunculus collection from biologically clean headwater sites and planting work parties being run by Dave and Paul Hughes.

SPRITE also carried out some wildflower seed planting and have joined with other local volunteers to reduce the amount of Himalayan Balsam in reaches upstream of this section.

The video shows how important complex submerged cover is to trout (especially). In much simpler habitat almost all of the trout would have been caught at the upstream barrier after the activity of the survey team had flushed them all the way up through simple habitat that lacked refuge opportunities. However, whilst Ranunculus does not provide much defense against being stunned by a small electric field it (and other complex submerged cover such as tree roots, submerged fallen tree crowns and root wads) does provide significantly improved protection against natural visual predators.

Studies have shown that fish-eating bird predation efficiency drops greatly in the presence of complex submerged cover - and predators give up after a shorter duration to try elsewhere because their calorific return for the energy they need to expend to catch more prey makes the effort unprofitable.

Check out Richard Noble's survey team in action in the video above and see the fruits of volunteer labour (and note how most of the trout that are caught in the middle of the reach are hugging the Ranunculus!). This water plant is also excellent habitat for a number of aquatic invertebrate species and can contribute to improved diversity in flow velocities and associated substrate particle and nutrient-sorting over the cross-section of a channel.