Introducing TROUT...

WTT has been successful in securing money from the latest Yorkshire Water Biodiversity Enhancement Fund. Our Research & Conservation Officer, Jonny Grey, put together an application entitled Tackling Resilience On Under-performing Tributaries (TROUT)’.

In essence, the TROUT project aims to combat climate change and increase the resilience of nine key, small watercourses, and to complement existing natural flood management projects by improving fish spawning and nursery habitat through landowner engagement and partnership working. Three watercourses in each of the Aire, Nidd and Wharfe catchments will benefit from the funds,

Focussing on smaller watercourses is important for many reasons. For trout, the modified nature of many main-stem rivers results in a lack of suitable spawning and fry habitat, and hence the tributaries and side-channels attain even greater importance for sustaining the reproduction of wild populations. Therefore, maintaining access to and habitat quality within smaller watercourses is paramount. Also, it is arguably easier to achieve greater return per capita investment as improvements (for example, to slow the flow) will have knock-on effects downstream.

Our ethos has always been to inspire others to actively engage with and better understand the natural environment that surrounds them. The previous successful YW Biodiversity Fund led by WTT engaged with 102 unique volunteers from 25 angling clubs or other organisations during 7 demonstration events. The new proposal builds upon a similar model of partnership working: ~20 organisations via a predominantly volunteer workforce’. The proposal already estimates leverage of funding ~3x, including contributions from the local Branch of the Salmon & Trout Conservation UK. However, the knowledge transfer element to environmental custodians such as anglers and friends of’ groups will empower those individuals to undertake work in a similar vein elsewhere within their demesne, and therefore increase the environmental benefits and legacy further.

Importantly, a component of the funding has been ring-fenced specifically for monitoring biological change. Aquatic invertebrate and fish population / community structure will be quantified using Riverfly Monitoring Initiative (RMI) and electric-fishing, respectively.

Dr. Ben Aston, Yorkshire Water’s lead for biodiversity and ecology said: A key part of our corporate strategy is to protect the environment. Through working with others rather than going it alone, we ensure that there is a long-term sustainable legacy to the programme and that there is the right expertise on board to deliver the best possible results for nature and our customers. 

It is fantastic to be able to support a range of amazing initiatives that are driven by making Yorkshire a more habitable area for wildlife and plants, as well as improving people’s well-being and sustaining the ecosystems on which we rely for many of our services. 

As well as our biodiversity enhancement programme, we are working with catchment partnerships across our area to help improve the sustainability of the conservation groups who help look after our rivers, and look forward to continuing this work to help deliver a green recovery for Yorkshire from Covid-19.”

No doubt Jonny will keep us abreast of developments via Twitter and the WTT Blog.

2020 06 01