Trout in the Town Blog

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
12/06/2013 - 09:22

We were fortunate to secure supporting funding from the Fishmongers' Company which allowed us to subsidise attendance at our biennial event in support of Trout in the Town project leaders. Brilliantly hosted by Salford Friendly Anglers; the theme for this year's Urban River Champions' Conclave was "Resilience". It is a characteristic that urban rivers can show in spades. It is also something that every volunteer - and especially every person who takes on the responsibility to run an urban project - needs to have buckets of.

However, everyone involved in these labours of love will experience real low points. It can get to feel like a hopeless cause in the face of external opposition as well as internal group tensions.

This was the reason that I asked Philip Sheridan to give the keynote address at this year's Conclave - for reasons that will become clear when you watch his presentation. Phil not only kindly agreed to speak, but also allowed us to reproduce his talk in the video below. I think that I am right in saying that, after a fairly standard opening paragraph or two for an urban trout stream restoration presentation, the audience was completely unprepared for the directions that Phil subsequently took.

Phil's wonderful talk is a reflective and personal journey that starts with an appreciation of a recovering post-industrial river, but moves through some surprising and very moving territory covering Phil's travels as a teenager, his work in helping the recovery of abused children, a near fatal accident and post traumatic stress as well as his own gruelling road to recovery. If you have ever felt that the circumstances of life have prevented you from reaching your goals, Phil's talk will provide inspirational pause for thought. He was certainly an inspiration to me as the conference organiser and on top of that - just like all the other contributors - made my job very easy by giving a fantastic presentation.

Get yourself a brew and a biscuit and give yourself a chance to absorb his presentation in the video below - it could change your life...




Phil also produced a handout that gives guidance on cultivating your own resilience. It is reproduced below so that anyone who needs it can refer to the list at any time:

I would like to suggest 10 ways to support and promote resilience for yourselves and your groups gleaned from various sources that support this:

 

  1. Build your wealth in good relationships
  2. Crisis can bring opportunity with it
  3. Identify and accept the circumstances that you cannot change
  4. Set realistic goals then take steady steps toward them
  5. When adversity strikes take decisive action - always do one more thing
  6. Celebrate the small wins
  7. Take pride in your efforts
  8. Keep an eye on the broader context
  9. Be hopeful - expect success - be analytical if it doesn't come
  10. Take a break



21/05/2013 - 11:00
Some very nice positive coverage here in the local newspaper for the Wigan Trout in the Town activities:

CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW FULL SIZE

Syndicate content