Sewage in rivers and environmental protection

Posted on October 21, 2021

Sewage in rivers and environmental protection

Yesterday the House of Commons rejected some key amendments to the Environment Bill made by the House of Lords. 

One of the amendments rejected was a legal duty on water companies to reduce sewage damage to rivers. Some of the water company CEO's gave evidence to the Parliamentary Enquiry on Water Quality in Rivers on 13 October. The rejection of the amendment to the Environment Bill is hugely disappointing given the amount of public interest in this topic, with campaigning, media coverage, petitions and (apparent) support from the Government and Defra for example, in July .Minister Rebecca Pow said:

'Water companies have environmental responsibilities and they must realise them. They have a legal duty to avoid pollution to our rivers and other waterways.

Not Really Fishing - a Little Book of Riverside Moments from the WTT

Posted on October 03, 2021

Not Really Fishing - a Little Book of Riverside Moments from the WTT

The perfect Christmas stocking filler!

In the Spring 2021 newsletter, we asked members to write some ‘very short stories’ about their wildlife experiences whilst fishing. The response was tremendous, and we have now published them in a ‘little book’ along with lots of bite sized facts about wildlife and trout.

We hope we will capture a small part of the ‘Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing’ effect, which has captured a nation’s hearts with the warmth of the two men’s friendship. ‘Not Really Fishing - a Little Book of Riverside Moments’ similarly aims to show that there is more to fishing than catching fish.

Goodies from the Wild Trout Trust

Posted on October 03, 2021

Goodies from the Wild Trout Trust

Order while stocks last! We have limited quantities of new WTT branded items including caps (a lovely sludgey green) and Chilly’s drinks bottles for hot and cold drinks. Plus enamel pin badges, enamel mugs, car stickers and tea towels. Available from our website shop.

Fix the Broken Water Sector - report for Government

Posted on September 28, 2021

The Angling Trust and Salmon & Trout Conservation (S&TC) have delivered a major report – ‘Time to Fix The Broken Water Sector’ – to Government on the management and regulation of the failing water and sewerage sector.

The report takes the form of a  'shadow' strategic policy statement (SPS) and has been sent to Environment Secretary George Eustice as a formal response to the Government’s own consultation. It delivers a stark message from the environmental groups and sets out why the Government’s forthcoming SPS for water must be a clear and unambiguous instruction to OFWAT to compel and enable water companies to repair sewerage systems and invest in adequate resources for water supply.

'Woodlands for Water' initiative announced by Defra

Posted on September 28, 2021

'Woodlands for Water' initiative announced by Defra

The ‘Woodlands for Water’ project aims to create 3,150 hectares of trees in six river catchment areas from Devon to Cumbria by March 2025. 

Farmers and landowners will be able to apply for funding through the ‘England Woodland Creation Offer’ grant which provides greater financial incentives for landowners and farmers to plant and manage trees, including along rivers and watercourses.

The project will be carried out by the ‘Riverscapes’ Partnership, comprising of the Rivers Trust, National Trust, Woodland Trust and Beaver Trust.  

Beaver Consultation in England

Posted on August 25, 2021

Beaver Consultation in England

Defra has today announced a consultation 'to seek views on the cautious release and management of beavers into the wild'.

The 12-week consultation is seeking views on:

  • Potential future releases into the wild
  • Current and future releases into enclosures
  • Mitigation and management of beaver activity or impacts in the wild, including the River Otter population and all other existing wild living beaver populations

There are plans to give beavers legal protection in England, making it an offence to deliberately capture, kill, disturb or injure beavers, or damage breeding sites or resting places.

Environment Agency jobs in Hampshire

Posted on August 09, 2021

The EA Solent Fisheries, Biodiversity and Geomorphology team have two vacancies, based in Romsey, Hampshire: 

Test and Itchen River Restoration Project Officer. Closing date 22 August 2021. Permanent, full time or part time/job share. Do you understand chalk streams - their form, function and natural processes, relationship with their floodplains and aquifers; their biodiversity and the pressures they face; and the politics? If working with nature to restore and enhance our environment excites you, then please apply. 

Solent Fisheries, Biodiversity and Geomorphology Team Leader. Closing date 12 August 2021. Fixed term, full time or part time/ job share. The role is to lead an integrated team of fisheries and biodiversity experts, providing strong leadership, identifying and prioritising the big risks, giving clear direction and providing support to the team.

High water temperatures and trout

Posted on July 19, 2021

It's hot! Very hot in some places. 

A combination low water levels plus hot sunshine means high water temperatures and low oxygen levels. Once the water temperature reaches 20 – 21C, our native brown trout start to struggle and even best practice catch and release can result in unintended mortality. 

Bear in mind that the air temperature in the evenings is cooler, but the water temperature may not be. Take the temperature of the water before you fish and if it is at or around 20C, it is better not to fish.

Pink salmon

Posted on July 16, 2021

Pink salmon

There is a chance that the rivers of the UK and Ireland will see pink salmon this summer. This normally Pacific species has been appearing in recent years around our coasts and in our rivers, thought to be the product of strays from northern Norway and Russia (and possibly originally fish farm escapees?). Anglers might be interested in an information sheet from the Environment Agency and report any captures of odd salmon – full details here

Building bridges

Posted on July 01, 2021

The work that we do always has a 'people' as well as a 'trout and wildlife' focus. 

See below for an interesting little film from our chums at Aire Rivers Trust.

The site in question, a mill goit fed by a former weir across the Aire, essentially created an island upstream of the Seven-Arches Bridge at Hirst Wood. Jonny Grey from WTT was asked to visit by local EA Fisheries to advise on reinstating habitat within the goit for spawning and winter flow refuge.

Shetland trout stocking doesn’t make for more trout

Posted on June 11, 2021

Many studies have confirmed that stocking with farm-reared trout (or salmon) makes very little difference to numbers of fish in the wild. A very recent paper, published by Andy King and colleagues at Exeter Uni, reiterates this point, from their studies of a stocking programme in the Shetlands. The full, open access paper is here.

The story here (repeated in plenty of other places) is that the sea trout rod fishery collapsed in the ‘90’s, so a stocking programme was initiated in 2002 by the angling association, to stock out fry born of domesticated, farm-origin broodstock. Concomitant with the stocking programme, sea trout catches started to recover, so the angling association, understandably, reasoned that the stocking was part of that recovery.

The study analysed samples from 368 fish, genetically “finger printing” them to ascertain their ancestry. Two interesting things emerged in the data: first, there were distinct, genetic differences between trout from different burns (like we always say, a trout is not just any old trout) and, secondly, the researchers found very few fish of stocked origin: ”… our results suggest that the recovery of the Shetland sea trout population was probably not directly linked to the stocking programme”. More significant, they postulate, is that a recovery of sand eels (including a cessation of the sand eel fishery) made for more sea trout food. The work also identified a number of wild x stocked “hybrid” offspring which is problematical – it is known from salmon research that such “hybrids”, being less fit for the world, produce less fish for subsequent generations; so, paradoxically, the stocking programme could have been doing exactly the opposite to its aim. The Shetland Anglers Association ended the stocking programme in 2017.

Even small barriers are bad for fish

Posted on June 11, 2021

It's not just about salmon and sea trout - all fish, including resident brown trout, need to be able to move up and downstream to complete their lifecycles. Whilst some barriers in rivers occur naturally, we humans have added a staggering 40,000 artificial barriers (check out this blog post from the AMBER project) with inevitable consequences on our fish populations. 

This blog post by Peter Jones describes the results of research into small barriers on fish communities.  You can read the full paper in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

For more information about rivers and barriers, visit our Rivers Resource Hub on this website, and specifically this page on weirs, culverts and hydropower. 

Peat, trees, beavers and more........

Posted on May 21, 2021

Peat, trees, beavers and more........

A speech by the Secretary of State for the Environment, George Eustice, yesterday contained a number of announcements, including this comment on beaver reintroductions:

After a successful release in Devon, we are now looking positively towards the reintroduction of beavers and further releases of this iconic species in England. Our consultation, to be issued later this summer, will outline our approach to this, and the management of beavers in the wild. We will particularly consider reintroductions where the benefits are clear, where there are strong partnerships and agreement from stakeholders. Our approach will acknowledge the potential of beavers as a keystone species whilst working closely with local communities.

Check out our Beaver Resource Hub for information on beavers, their impact and management. WTT will, of course, be responding to the consultation and we will publish our response on the website.