Posted on July 23, 2013
Posted on July 23, 2013
Posted on July 08, 2013
Shaun Leonard gave a huge amount of masterclass training over both days of the Urban Conclave - enabling attendees to benefit from just a small part of his extensive experience in decoding the secrets of the lives (and sometimes deaths) of fish just using visual examination of small samples under a microscope.
Combining the Trout in the Town friendly competition monitoring methods with training in scale sampling (which does not harm the fish)provides anyone who cares about an urban (or rural!) river with a wonderful tool for understanding the fish populations in their river.
For instance, the picture at the top of this blog entry gives a clue to why one of the most commonly-heard myths about taking large fish for the table is completely wrong...
Just by way of explanation, the picture shows a trout scale under a microscope. The scale was taken from the fish (caught and released by the WTT's Gareth Pedley from the river Tweed) in the photograph below:
Although they are not like the rings in a tree trunk (i.e. one band for each year!) you can still often see periods of time where the growth is slower - and the groups of multiple...
Posted on July 02, 2013
Another of the MANY great talks that the participants in the 2013 Urban River Champions Conclave benefited from was Professor Lerner's account of how the Aire Rivers Trust has set up the plan for the restoration of Bradford Beck.
I felt that it was important to set up the whole Conclave by bracketing the subject of Resilience with two talks; the first of which was Phil Sheridan's deeply personal and incredibly inspirational dissection of the qualities of resilience that we encounter (and require) during each of our "lived experiences". The second key talk was very deliberately designed to expose the bare nuts and bolts of a highly structured series of practical solutions to many of the problems that Trout in the Town groups routinely encounter. In other words, the second talk offered one possible "route map" of how to turn the inspiration and personal resilience identified and instilled by Phil's talk into a series of effective an efficient actions.
This second "bracketing" talk was, of course, Professor Lerner's presentation. I've reproduced it in the video below so that both of the absolutely key expert presentations from the 2013 event are available as a reminder for the Conclave attendees - as well as...
Posted on July 01, 2013
Posted on June 28, 2013
I'll sandwich this quick-fire montage that captures some of what went on at May's Urban Conclave weekend between Phil Sheridan's full presentation (blogged previously here: http://urbantrout.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/urban-conclave-if-youve-ever-felt.html)and a future blog post featuring Prof. David Lerner's excellent talk (video edit still on the "to do" list...).
There were many more fantastic talks that I was unable to video unfortunately (and I only chose to film the presentations by people who I absolutely knew wouldn't be fazed by the camera pointed at them!)
The video embedded below documents the meeting of around 25 core members who run Urban River restoration projects from around the UK including: Wales (Rivers Taff and Ogmore), Salford, Sheffield, Newbury, Burnley, London, Huddersfield, Bradford, Keighley and Wigan.
It was an honour to host them all and to hear all of their reports, stories, trials and tribulations. I also believe that the weekend was truly inspirational for all participants - a vital factor given the many set-backs and nay-sayers that every person who runs a project like these will encounter time and again. I also look forward to the next time we run this event - as there were several groups who were unable to attend on the specific date of the...
Posted on June 27, 2013
Posted on June 26, 2013
Here is a short video that was part of a talk that Mike Clough invited me to give at the conference launching "INNSA" (http://www.innsa.org/). I've added some explanatory voiceover - in place of me talking and pointing at the screen in person :)
The clip explains why invasive plants that die back in winter cause huge increases in "wash-load" sediments (i.e. sediment that is washed into the river from the surrounding land - rather than derived from existing river-bed material).
When you realise that this can bury and suffocate spawning beds, the problem becomes much more obvious than the situation you see in high summer (when growth is lush). The loss of large areas of spawning beds has the potential to be far more serious in terms of reducing the population of fish in your river than occasional (and still serious) poaching. It is just that the fish impacted by silt accumulation never had a chance at life in order to become large enough to be visible victims (unlike poached adult fish).
I know lots of anglers who would be outraged by people illegally netting their rivers, but who "kind of know that invasive plants are not ideal" - but are maybe...
Posted on June 25, 2013
Posted on June 12, 2013
We were fortunate to secure supporting funding from the Fishmongers' Company which allowed us to subsidise attendance at our biennial event in support of Trout in the Town project leaders. Brilliantly hosted by Salford Friendly Anglers; the theme for this year's Urban River Champions' Conclave was "Resilience". It is a characteristic that urban rivers can show in spades. It is also something that every volunteer - and especially every person who takes on the responsibility to run an urban project - needs to have buckets of.
However, everyone involved in these labours of love will experience real low points. It can get to feel like a hopeless cause in the face of external opposition as well as internal group tensions.
This was the reason that I asked Philip Sheridan to give the keynote address at this year's Conclave - for reasons that will become clear when you watch his presentation. Phil not only kindly agreed to speak, but also allowed us to reproduce his talk in the video below. I think that I am right in saying that, after a fairly standard opening paragraph or two for an urban trout stream restoration presentation, the audience was completely unprepared for...
Posted on May 21, 2013
Posted on May 20, 2013
Posted on May 14, 2013
Posted on April 26, 2013
Posted on March 28, 2013
Posted on January 28, 2013