Wild Trout Trust - Thames Water Conservation Awards Winners

Over 100 guests attended a Wild Trout Trust evening at the Savile Club in Mayfair yesterday evening to present the 2016 awards for the best river habitat conservation projects. The evening was introduced by WTT Chairman, David Fraser and Director, Shaun Leonard, with the awards presented by Yvette De Garis of Thames Water, who generously sponsor the Conservation Awards. 

The Conservation Awards recognise and encourage excellence in the management and conservation of wild trout habitat, celebrating the efforts, skills and ingenuity of projects carried out both by professionals and by grass roots voluntary organisations.

The Wild Trout Hero Award recognises an individual who has made a significant difference to the future of the UK’s favourite fish – the wild brown trout.

The winners are:

The Environment Agency, with the angling clubs of the Upper Ribble, won the Contribution to Wild Trout Conservation for their Going Wild’ Project on the River Ribble in Lancashire.

The clubs and syndicates that fish the upper 35 miles of Lancashire’s River Ribble decided to entirely cease stocking the river with farmed trout, first in 2007. They now enjoy wild trout fishing, with one club member reporting a catch (and release) of 27 fish including 6 fish over 2lb! The change in policy was based on a wide range of evidence gathered by the EA and clubs, and this has allowed club committees to make informed, evidence-based decisions on the best use of their members’ monies in the provision of the best possible angling experience. The wholesale shift in stock management policy is also being combined with fencing and river corridor habitat improvement projects involving also the Ribble Rivers Trust, to give the wild breeding populations the best possible chances in life.

The East Yorkshire Rivers Trust Lowthorpe Mill Diversion, Foston Beck’ won the Medium-Scale Habitat Enhancement Scheme.

An ambitious project to create a new channel around an ancient water mill on one of England most northerly chalk streams. The mill structures were acting as a sediment trap and barrier to fish migration, but this was a sensitive historic site that needed a sensitive approach. The solution was to create 250m of new channel which is fished by the Foston Beck Angling Club, who also monitor the river for invertebrate life. The new section of river has already been colonised by wild trout and the number and diversity of rivers flies have increased remarkably quickly. An ambitious project, expertly executed, that is already showing real benefits for trout and other wildlife.

The Rivers Corridor Group Project, River Derwent/​Bassenthwaite system won the Large-Scale Habitat Enhancement Scheme’.

This project has achieved enormous change for the Cumbrian Derwent system since 2005, through a remarkable cooperative effort to shift land-use and stream habitat. There is a very broad, level of local involvement that includes schools, farmers and angling clubs as well as the Rivers Trust, the Woodland Trust, National Trust and Government agencies. The group have carried out over 120 habitat improvement projects and addressed issues such as bank erosion that were exacerbated by the 2009 and 2015 floods. A superb example of a diverse, long-term partnership tackling issues on a flood-prone river.

Rob Mungovan, Wild Trout Hero 2016

Rob’s day job is as an ecologist with South Cambridgeshire District Council but, for wild trout, he comes into his own working on the rivers across eastern central England. Rob is a truly passionate wild trout fisher and an equally passionate advocate for the conservation and improvement of our rivers, a very worthy Wild Trout Hero.