Giving Wildlife (Including Urban Wild Trout) a Fighting Chance on The Lyme Brook: Video
Here is a short video showing just the first phase (out of three phases we have completed so far) of works to re-introduce structural variety into a historically abused watercourse on the River Trent system in Staffordshire.
Wild trout are slowly making a comeback on the main river and — although water quality is a constant worry — there was a huge scope to improve the chances of fish to breed in a small tributary called the Lyme Brook.
With the willing support of the local council (Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council — through Becky Allen), the project was able to become a reality. It was delivered as a partnership project under the Catchment Based Approach (the local hosts for the Trent Valley Partnership are the folks at Groundwork West Midlands). The Environment Agency (as well as Staffordshire Wildlife Trust) are other key members of the partnership.
For this specific work, Matt Lawrence (E.A.), Steve Cook (Groundwork) and Lynne Morgan (Groundwork) arranged funding and logistics for each of the physical works events (that involved contractors/plant hire as well as volunteer days). I had the most fun job of designing the appropriate interventions and directing exactly what Geoff needed to do with the mini-digger to re-sculpt the river into a more functional habitat. Additional workshops featuring volunteers from the Friends of Lyme Valley Parkway (and including “Love Your River” events) put the finishing touches to the planting and gravel introduction (which let me do some final tweaks to make sure everything was going to work to the maximum).
It should be of interest to many people that the brook has seen some extremely high water events since the habitat features have been installed — and there have been no problems with stability of the structures.