WTT Blog

Return of the Urban Conclave - even bigger and better than the original?

Posted on March 08, 2011


Friday February 25th through to Monday the 28th saw a massive payoff for over 2 years' worth of planning, design proposals, negotiation and persistance (not only on my part, but on the part of the Wandle Trust - in particular Bella Davies and Theo Pike). Members of the local E.A. fisheries team (including Tanya Houston) also pushed forward the important removal of several barriers to trout migration - which will soon see a fish pass added to a large weir to complement the lowering/removal of 3 other weirs. Finally, we had the go ahead to begin the creation of good quality spawning, juvenile and adult trout habitat patches in the upper reaches of the Carshalton arm of the River Wandle: the next step in returning truly wild self-sustaining trout populations since their demise in the polluted waters of the 1930s.

Whilst seeking to arrange this year's "Trout in the Town Urban River Champion's Conclave", the thought occurred that it would be incredibly fitting to share the groundbreaking Wandle works with the dedicated members of "Trout in the Town" branches from urban rivers across the UK. So began the plan to arrange a two-day conference and...

Trout in the Town Guidelines Launched

Posted on December 20, 2010

The latest in a series of river restoration guidelines has been launched by the WTT. This latest installment focusses on guiding local community members in adopting and caring for their urban river reaches and have been developed by the TinTT programme manager based on the first two years of working with the first 8 UK chapters of TinTT.

The guidelines are available for free download in low resolution here:
URBAN RIVER RESTORATION GUIDELINES

Here is the report on the first two years of the project including progress against objectives as well as lessons learnt:
FINAL REPORT
They will shortly be available to purchase at full resolution on CD from the online shop at THE WILD TROUT TRUST

Enjoy.

PG

Going all the way on the Cray

Posted on November 23, 2010



A little London Chalkstream near Sidcup which has been diligently looked after in recent years by Thames21's Ashe Hurst got another shot in the arm on Thursday and Friday last week. Two of the WTT's conservation officers (Andy Thomas and Paul Gaskell) did two days of specific habitat improvement works in order to train the Thames21 staff and volunteers (including local youngsters who have been excluded from schools). A variety of uses of woody debris, brash bundles, wire, stakes and metal pin fixings were used to promote localised scouring of the stream bed, sorting and cleaning of spawning gravels and submerged "brashy" cover for juvenile fish.

The videos below show the increase in flow and change from "concreted" immobile gravels (with dark algal growth) to mobile and silt free (light coloured)particles at the pinch point created by an upstream "V" flow deflector


The flows prior to the installation of the upstream V were much more sluggish and favoured the deposition of silt. Now there is much more variety in current pace and depth.

The upstream V featured in the video clips (above)showing the focussed flow and pale gravel displaced following loosening with...

Highlighting trout spawning and what to avoid when wading in winter

Posted on November 09, 2010

An example of some of the useful communication of highly relevant information that can be passed directly to grass roots participants just by contributing to an online specialist forum. Click the link below:

http://www.flyforums.co.uk/826909-post86.html
In summary - don't trim/remove debris that produces localised gravel scour:

This trailing branch debris is cleaning and "sorting" gravel for spawning - note the brighter patch of gravel

and don't tread on redds (trout "nests") containing eggs:

Newly formed redd which will allow eggs to hatch and emerging tiny fish (alevins) to shelter in the gaps between the pebbles below the surface of the gravel bed


Trout cutting a redd - photo Peter Henriksson

SPRITE (Sheffield Trout in the Town) recognised in local community awards

Posted on October 22, 2010


SPRITE came runners up in the 2010 Sheffield Telegraph community environmental project awards this week.

This is great recognition for all the hard work done both on the conservation of the river but also for the invaluable community engagement and education that everone involved has put into the city of Sheffield.

Very well done also to this year's Winners - Wisewood School.

Waving a Magic Wand(le)

Posted on August 20, 2010


Very hot news just in is that after many months (years!) of assessment, planning, design, negotiation and hard work; permission has just been granted for my design of habitat restoration and enhancement works to go ahead on the upper Carshalton arm of the Wandle.

Many thanks to Bella from the Wandle Trust hosting our E.A. flood risk assessor and putting our case so well and also great effort from Tanya in E.A. fisheries for making the weir removal programme happen.

An extensive array of structures will be installed over around 600 m of river which will create high quality spawning and adult holding habitat along with some additional juvenile habitat to complement the existing opportunities for young trout. When this is coupled with the increased connectivity along this section of the Wandle (through a combination of weir removals and fish pass installation), then the potential for robust self-sustaining populations of wild trout will be greatly increased.
The final piece of this part of the puzzle will come with the hoped-for opportunity to import wild trout parr from nearby in the catchment. Rather than depleting adult brood stock from the donor site - juveniles...

Busy Buzzy Bee

Posted on May 26, 2010

Lots of stuff going on at the moment (that’s the problem with blogging, when there’s loads to write about, you haven’t got time to write it). Therefore, the briefest of briefs (not in the underwear sense) for my recent activities would include, but not be limited to, the following:
Mayfly in the Classroom Taking Wing in both urban and also transferring to rural settings too.

A hugely successful (judging by the reaction of the kids alone) run of Mayfly in the Classroom (MIC) in the Staffordshire area was delivered by WTT (Paul Gaskell, Tim Jacklin) and Severn Trent Water (Hanna Sandstrom) staff in three schools. This was part of a collaborative project between WTT, Trent Rivers Trust and Severn Trent Water to teach the value of protecting stream habitat, water quality and water quantity through a variety of practical (and locally relevant) actions. In the process the children learnt about (and got very attached to) the mayfly nymphs and resultant adults in their care. Memorable quotes from the pupils included “You are the best men ever” (not sure how Hanna should take that) and, more importantly, “Mayfly and trout are indicator species that tell us when streams have...

Grabbed by the Proverbials

Posted on April 15, 2010

I am told that there is an African Proverb (borrowed by many including Al Gore!) that says “If you want to go fast; go alone. If you want to go far; go together”. You can see these words on the displays at the Eden Project in the UK and also see how they’ve adhered to the principle in their exhibits of sustainable futures for the planet (http://www.edenproject.com/). The theme of forming a strong group in order to move mountains is pretty much the central feature of TinTT local chapters. Going together, though, is easier said than done…

If History (at least according to Edmund Blackadder) is anything to go by, then it is perhaps unclear what aspects of dear Queenie we could usefully learn from her assertion that “I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a Concrete Elephant!”. Perhaps a clearer message is the more conventionally reported quote of:
“I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a king of England too…I myself will take up arms, I myself will...

Campsie Fells

Posted on March 18, 2010

Just back from a swift trip to Glasgow/Lennoxtown and the guys at Campsie.

Here is a fantastic river and a great group, which historically had amazing trout fishing. A cumulative effect of changes (probably land use, possibly climate, probably high water abstraction rates) often leave this river very low on water. Conversely, when it does rise; it comes up quick and drops away just as suddenly.

A very common scenario in our upland river systems that comes along with intensified pressures on land use/natural resources.

Sections of the river have been historically straightened and house continuous runs of relatively uniform depth (OK for juveniles, not so much holding water for adult fish).


However, there are a few examples of naturally occurring Large Woody Debris which are providing holding lies for good fish. Unfortunately, this also means that these spots see lots of angling attention



Trout in the Town and the guys from Campsie are putting some plans together in order to improve the habitat and holding lies in straightened sections (as well as generating localised scour pools of increased depth that will hold water at all flows - low and high).

Again, keep watching this space