Etwall Brook Project

The Etwall Brook is a small tributary or the middle reaches of the River Trent in South Derbyshire. In 2009, a pollution occurred resulting from an accident at a Severn Trent Water sewage treatment plant, which killed numerous fish in the brook including a number of wild brown trout. Following the incident, the local Environment Agency fisheries officer, Alex Lumsdon, contacted the Wild Trout Trust for advice on how habitat within the brook might be improved to speed the recovery of the fish stocks and to provide a lasting improvement. The brook is not fished and this approach was an alternative to stocking the brook with hatchery fish, which have a much poorer prospects for re-colonising a water than wild fish.

Etwall Brook artificially straight section

Tim Jacklin of the Wild Trout Trust carried out an advisory visit and prepared a project proposal for works on the brook to improve a section where the channel had been straightened twenty years previously. In conjunction with the Environment Agency, the plans were discussed with the landowner who agreed to the works and with Severn Trent Water who agreed to fund the works as mitigation for the pollution. The relevant consent applications were prepared and submitted to the Environment Agency and soon everything was in place for the habitat improvements to go ahead.

Left: An artificially straight section of the Etwall Brook, before the habitat improvement works

The work took place in March 2011 and involved creating pool habitat, introducing spawning gravels, placing large woody debris (root wads) in

Excavator installing root wads into the brook and re-profiling the banks

the channel, re-profiling the banks of the brook, planting trees and fencing the brook from livestock. It was a real team effort with WTT supervising the earthwork contractors, EA staff helping with the pool habitat creation and tree planting and the landowner providing assistance with his farm machinery. On subsequent visits to the site it has been gratifying to see some trout have taken up residence on the improved section and shoals of minnows and the odd chub have also been seen; these should form the basis of a speedy recovery for the fish stocks.

Right: The banks of the brook are re-profiled and root wads installed to provide shelter for fish

Wild Trout Trust contact: Tim Jacklin