Habitat improvement projects

improving river habitat
WTT Conservation officers 'hinging' trees to provide a bolt holes for trout to escape predators

Projects are the major part of the Wild Trout Trust’s work. Our Conservation Officers spend most of their time planning, preparing and delivering projects to improve habitat in rivers. 

Projects can vary in scale from a hundred metres of river to catchment and regional scale programmes, but all are aimed at improving habitat for the benefit of wild trout and all wildlife in the river and on the banks. 

Check out the links below for some examples of our river habitat restoration projects, and this page for project videos.

How do we deliver habitat projects?

We deliver habitat improvement projects in 3 main ways:

  • Helping groups such as fishing clubs to carry out their own projects by providing advice, training and support, which can include project design, costing, planning, help with the permissions’ processes, training in techniques and project management.
  • Leading the delivery of a project in close co-operation with a local grassroots’ organisation who will take over the long term management and maintenance once the project has completed.
  • Supporting the delivery of a project as Partner with another organisation such as a local Rivers Trust, Catchment Partnership, the Environment Agency, a Wildlife Trust. We use our in depth expertise of river habitats and habitat improvement projects to complement the skills of other Partners.

Local involvement in any project is absolutely crucial. The Wild Trout Trust does not deliver projects without local involvement and the blessing or active participation of the landowner.

As well as delivering habitat improvement, projects have an important role in involving the grassroots’ , for example a fishing club or community group of conservation volunteers. By involving, training and enthusing local groups with a demonstration project’, we can be effective beyond our own limited resources and leave a legacy of knowledge and desire to look after the river and it’s wildlife. 

River Habitat Workshop On River Misbourne Comp
Volunteers and WTT staff at work on an award winning project on the River Misbourne

Thank you very much for your outstanding contribution, and for the great value that the Wild Tout Trust have brought to this project. Now we have some very well informed and skilled up’ volunteers who will be able to apply their experience to the next and potentially bigger site in this Project.

Rob Clapham, EA Catchment Coordinator

Projects can take a long time to come to fruition. In most cases it will take months to get all the relevant local groups and the landowner on board, apply for permission and find the funding. In some cases, projects are years in the planning, but perhaps only a few days or weeks in delivery. 

Patience and persistance are required, but the results are worth it!

Ems Before
Ems Pool Creation Comp
Ems After

The River Ems in West Sussex. An overwide channel with uniform depth (left); a digger was used to create a sequence of pools and riffles (centre). One year later (right), a sinuous channel providing healthy habitat for trout and other wildlife.