WTT Blog

Astounding events on new TinTT affiliated river

Posted on September 12, 2011

Two of the new attendees at our "urban conclave" in February this year invited me back to their own urban river recently. The purpose of the visit was two-fold; first of all to do some "mayfly in the classroom" training and also to do a revisit to the site that I had provided a habitat report on last winter. As well as exploring opportunities for access to spawning tributaries, my hosts also kindly allowed me to fish their privately owned section. Sadly this piece of river suffers serious pollution spills every few years. These have included incidents that have wiped out all fish - including thousands of eels. In fact, the only fish to survive one such incident in 2009 were the handful of eels that managed to CLIMB OUT ONTO THE RIVERBANK and ball up in tree roots. Therefore, it was more an act of defiance to make our way up the river with fully rigged fly rods casting into numerous likely-looking spots in the vain hope of proving the water chemistry data wrong. And let's be clear here; there was absolutely no shortage of fantastic looking holding water in the quarter mile or so that we...

Summer 2011 updates

Posted on August 10, 2011

2011 is turning out to be quite a tumultuous year so far following the great success of our urban conclave and Wandle Practical Visit early on. A changing of the guard in the Sheffield Project as John Blewitt stepped down as chair to pursue a focus in youth angling coaching has lead to a re-organisation at SPRITE (Sheffield Project for Rivers in Town Environments). We have now created several new posts that were previously components of the chairperson's role and have run some fantastic invasive plant removal events (both independently and in partnership with Winn Gardens Tenants and Residents Association (Winntara) and the Rivelin Valley Conservation Group: http://www.rivelinvalley.org.uk/).
Balsam Removal at Winn Gardens: Before
The same mid-stream island after Balsam removal
SPRITE has also purchased some “stem injection” kit for controlling Japanese knotweed infestations and we are in the process of obtaining the appropriate licence to use glyphosate weedkiller next to watercourses. The huge advantage of stem injection is the specific targeting of individual invasive plants– and a lack of overspray of weedkiller onto non-target native plants and the adjacent river. For a great...

Follow up to the Wandle Practical Visit

Posted on April 01, 2011


Great news once again from the Wandle. The E.A. have played a blinder and installed the fish pass that will give upstream access to the habitat enhancement scheme (see the next post but one below) above this previously impassable barrier. Now all that remains to put the cherry on this is to tackle a second barrier (by partial removal rather than by fish pass) and to get the "tweaks" right on the habitat works.

That just leaves the permissions to be obtained for phased re-introductions of wild trout parr in order to re-establish the self sustaining trout stocks of the Wandle (previous most recent record circa 1930). Can't wait. Well done to all involved (including us at the Wild Trout Trust :):)), at the E.A. and the Wandle Trust for the works on this partnership project.

Grayling population survey from 14th March

Posted on March 25, 2011

The last day of the grayling season saw another band of intrepids take to the river in order to catch up, fish and record the days findings to keep up the record of our river's stocks. The TEAM head out A great day out and evidence that, at least in sections of the river, sufficient grayling have survived the attentions of a large influx of goosander to keep going over another cold winter. We are lucky that there are good areas of cover on the river as well as the steep gradient of the river maintaining a wide variety of current speeds and depths. Dave "Cort nowt" W proving his forum nickname wrong again Goosander are beautiful birds, but freezing over of their normal feeding areas can put a great deal of pressure on dense winter shoals of river grayling. In rivers with a little less varied habitat, the impacts can be very severe and the presence of impassable weirs or other barriers reduce the chances of fish re-colonisation. Of course, the birds are able to fly between numerous different feeding grounds if food becomes depleted in one area. All of this highlights the need to maintain good...

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...