Workshop: dam removal in an urban environment

Posted on August 29, 2017

This workshop will take place in Birmingham on September 25 and 26 at Aston Business School. The workshop has been organised by the Dam Removal Partnership, Severn Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency.

Click here for the full details including booking.

The draft programme has contributors from across Europe and will be an important event to learn about dam removal, the challenges facing different organisations across Europe as well as an important opportunity to exchange knowledge and develop networks that will help deliver dam removal in years to come. ‘The biggest obstacle to dam removal is in our heads”, we hope this workshop will help remove this dam.

Destruction of river ecology by agriculture

Posted on August 29, 2017

The Angling Trust has released a 3-minute video to highlight the impacts of agriculture on the ecology of rivers, in particular on fish and the invertebrates on which they feed. The video has been released to coincide with publication of a major investigation into the problem of agricultural pollution by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, published in The Guardian.


The Environment Agency's 2016 report on pollution incidents can be viewed here.

Pink salmon - EA Advice

Posted on August 16, 2017

In case you have missed the recent flurry of news re Pacific pink salmon, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, turning up in unusually high numbers in both rod and net catches around the British Isles, here is the latest advice to download from the Environment Agency.

The take home messages for if you capture a pink salmon:

  • If you are confident that you have caught a pink salmon it should be dispatched and retained. Please do NOT return it to the river.
  • If you are unsure about the identification, if possible please call the Environment Agency on our hotline number (0800 80 70 60). If possible retain the fish alive in a keep net. Otherwise, you should release it.
  • Please report your capture, including details of where you caught it and, if possible, a photograph of the fish, to Jonathan Shelley at the Environment Agency by email: or by post: Brampton Fisheries Laboratory, Brampton, Peterborough, Bromholme Lane, PE28 4NE.
  • If possible, please make the whole fish available to us for inspection and further analysis. Otherwise, a sample of the scales would be very helpful.

Feedback on the Environment Agency Survey Awareness Training Workshop (Leeds)

Posted on August 14, 2017

Feedback on the Environment Agency Survey Awareness Training Workshop (Leeds)

On Friday 4th August, WTT were invited to contribute to a workshop on Survey Awareness Training, organised by the Environment Agency at Lateral House in Leeds. This was in response to the tree works across Yorkshire which caused some consternation and has already resulted in the production of a briefing note – Tree Works: Lessons Learned.

The stated aim was to provide a clear message to EA staff and external surveyors involved in tree management, to ensure that survey work will be carried out in a consistent manner using the methodology provided during the workshop.

Both Jonny Grey and Paul Gaskell were involved both in the field and in the news at various times in the build up to this workshop, which morphed and changed date on numerous occasions. Ultimately, Jonny gave the presentation on Friday and here reports back for us.

Ed Eley – WTT’s Assistant Conservation Officer

Posted on August 11, 2017

Ed Eley – WTT’s Assistant Conservation Officer

We are delighted to announce that WTT’s latest recruit is Ed Eley, our Assistant Conservation Officer, who’ll work especially closely with Mike Blackmore and Andy Thomas in southern England. We chose Ed from a field of truly excellent applicants, impressed by his passion for rivers and wild trout and his practical background, including some high-level chainsaw skills; he’s also a very keen trout fisher.

Ed’s post is inspired by Pasco James, a young man who died tragically in 2010 and in whose memory we hold our annual 3 Fly Fundraiser at Meon Springs Trout Fishery. The money this event has raised will fund Ed’s post and hopefully allow him to absorb knowledge from Mike, Andy and the other WTT top-notch chaps and contribute to our work across the south. 

New guest blog on heron predation

Posted on August 07, 2017

On the WTT blog, another PhD candidate from the prolific group of Dr Martyn Lucas at Durham University has offered us some insight into heron predation.

Angus Lothian has always been interested in animal behaviour and studied seabird breeding behaviour to fish migration behaviour during the course of a BSc and MRes at the University of Glasgow. At the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment (SCENE), he monitored the emigration of Atlantic salmon smolts in the River Deveron, Scotland, and picked up invaluable skills in telemetry techniques which ultimately led him to his PhD. Currently, he is furthering our understanding of how fish behave around engineered structures in rivers, such as weirs and fishways, and establishing passage success for various species of coarse fish, as well as our beloved trout.

The observed predation by herons was an interesting by-product of tagging work which Angus undertook and which he hopes to expand upon during repeat monitoring this coming Autumn / Winter.

Brailsford Brook follow up work

Posted on August 07, 2017

Brailsford Brook follow up work

WTT Conservation Officer Tim Jacklin gives an update below on a weir removal project on the Brailsford Brook. The Brook had over 40 weirs, approximately one every 40 metres.  They were installed to create a series of fishable pools in a small brook, but the pools are silted and the weirs are disrupting the natural functioning of the Brook and its wildlife – including trout. You can read Tim’s Advisory Visit report here.

Following weir removal, rivers and streams will adjust to the new flow regime and this period of adjustment may need some management, as Tim describes below:

The WTT has been working on the Brailsford Brook in Derbyshire where in August 2016 five weirs were removed to improve conditions for wild trout. Follow-up work this year has included further weir removals and work to increase bank stability. A number of alder root plates from trees being removed from a nearby lake restoration project provided a great opportunity for using natural materials to stabilise the outside of a meander bend. The bend was experiencing accelerated rates of erosion, leading to widening and shallowing of the river channel. The root plates were positioned to create a new bank line, then the bank was reprofiled behind. A 10-m wide buffer strip is to be fenced and planted with trees. The new bank provides great cover for fish around the outside of the bend and the increased stability will drive down the river bed level through scour, deepening the pool and creating good adult trout habitat.

Following removal of several small weirs on the Ednaston Brook, work was carried out to increase the stability of the banks (before the works).


Root plates from alder trees (which were being removed from the site of a nearby lake restoration) were used to protect the outside of a meander bend. These provide great cover for fish, plus will promote bed scour and deepening of the pool, making it more suitable for larger trout.


Further work will include fencing out livestock and planting trees to increase bank stability in the long term.

Environment Agency recruiting Board members

Posted on August 03, 2017

The Environment Agency seeks four new members for its Board, a good opportunity for a suitably-qualified WTT supporter strategically to influence the future protection of the environment in England.

More information on the website here  also  download this PDF.

Closing date for applications 11 September 2017. 

New ID picture guides for invasive shrimp

Posted on August 01, 2017

New ID picture guides for invasive shrimp

Dr Cyril Bennett and the Salmon & Trout Conservation Trust UK have produced some excellent pictorial guides to help identify two invasive freshwater shrimp species: the killer and the demon shrimp.

The killer shrimp guide includes a photo of a juvenile and illustrates how easily this invader can be inadvertently spread by anglers, boaters and so on. A timely reminder on biosecurity: Check, Clean, Dry!

These guides, a more comprehensive but very simple key from the Freshwater Biological Association covering the majority of invasive shrimp and isopods (both here and on the horizon), and more on biosecurity can be found on the WTT website:

WTT Seeks A New Trustee

Posted on July 21, 2017

The Wild Trout Trust is currently seeking an additional Director (Trustee) to join its Board of Directors. We are particularly interested in an individual in possession of significant professional communications and marketing experience, and who would be able to use this to provide strategic direction to the WTT’s communications activities.

The role entails attending four Board meetings per year in London plus preparation for meetings (proposing agenda items and reading Board papers including accounts, budget, business plan, and reports). Trustees are also encouraged to attend other WTT events, in particular the Annual Conservation Awards (October) and the Annual Get-Together (May/June). In addition, Trustees are expected to undertake Board activities between meetings remotely. An indicative time commitment over and above the four days of meetings is four further days. The post is unpaid, although reasonable travel expenses are recoverable.

Please apply by letter with a CV. Applications should be sent to: The Wild Trout Trust via: Your application should address:

  • your skills knowledge and experience relevant to the role;
  • how you can contribute to the success of the Wild Trout Trust, recognising our charitable articles (see, and specifically the opportunities and needs in relation to communications and promotion of the Trust;
  • your ability to operate as part of a Board of Directors, with diplomacy and in accordance with good governance and avoiding conflicts of interest.

Where have the rivers gone?

Posted on July 18, 2017

"River beds are dry, wildlife is suffering, but no one has come close to mentioning a drought. What’s going on?"

Many of you will be painfully aware of the plight of groundwater-fed rivers in the southern half of England; after a particularly dry winter, they are notable by their absence. Their plight is highlighted in a recent article by Catherine Moncrieff, Freshwater Programme and Policy Manager, WWF-UK, available here. Read how and why the Blueprint for Water coalition are lobbying the Government and water companies.

On the WTT blog, Jess Picken has just provided us with a timely update from her PhD research - she is starting to reveal just how markedly the invertebrate (riverfly) community may be affected by even relatively short periods of low flow. Robust, experimental evidence like this is crucial for organisations like WWF and the Blueprint for Water team to include in their arguments. See the original outline of her PhD project, here.

New EA Head of Fisheries meets WTT

Posted on July 13, 2017

New EA Head of Fisheries meets WTT

The Environment Agency in England has a new Deputy Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment: Dr Kevin Austin, in post from early July.

WTT staff were delighted to spend a day with Dr Austin, showing him award-winning improvement projects in the rivers Nadder and Wylye, work that was the product of great partnership between WTT, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency area team, the Wessex Chalkstreams and Rivers Trust and local angling clubs.

WTT wishes Dr Austin every success in his new role and we look forward to carrying on our hugely productive collaboration with the Agency. 

A new type of river management- video

Posted on July 13, 2017

The past few years have seen a shift towards Catchment Management (managing the whole river basin, rather than only short sections of river) and more recently to Natural Flood Management (NFM) which uses natural processes to ‘slow the flow’ and reduce flooding.

This short film is very good explanation of the thinking behind this shift in the way that we manage rivers.