August 22, 2011
Things are as busy as ever, with projects completed, on the go and coming up! Not to mention our move to new offices on the horizon, we’ll still be based at Hanson Cement in Clitheroe, but in a new larger and more suitable space. This has kept every spare minute (not that there are many) packed with cleaning, tidying and organising. We’re looking forward to getting in as things are a little cramped here in our two rooms since we became a team of 6!
Over the last couple of weeks the Brun Calder fish passes have progressed, but been interrupted by the significant rainfall we had a week or so ago. However by the end of this week we hope that the first fish pass will be in place and completed!
Boyces brook fish easement is well and truly underway, and we hope that this will be finished by Friday, if the weather holds. This is a great little scheme, and will be completed by the addition of Eel mats, that we hope will see Sea trout and Eels making there way back up onto Kemple Fell.
Stock beck gravel addition is due to start in a week, again weather dependant, but also if the farmer has managed to get his silage off! I’m looking forward to this project as we have selected a more natural stone than that which we use last year, which I hope we will see fish utilising this coming winter.
Our consent for the first Chipping fish easement is through, however we suffered a set back to find that Tweedy’s culvert was not a suitable project due to implication of flood risk. We hope subject to land owner consent to start this project in a few weeks, and will now start to look at the Talbot bridge weir, and see what can be done there to improve fish migration.
The URES project Community Engagement Officer post is now being advertised, and the closing date is the 30th of August, so if you’re interested get your CV and covering letter to us ASAP!
The Ribble Pilot is also moving forward, our strategy for engagement, including overall techniques and outcomes are now set, and so it will be a case of talking to interested groups. That said if you are an interested person or group please please please get in touch! The aim is to find enthusiastic people who can help us (or more importantly - we can help!), to deliver improvements to rivers and streams throughout the Ribble Catchment. We hope that we will be able to offer more than just advise and guidance, but training, equipment and if we’re lucky maybe even funding!
I think the most eye opening work I’ve done over the last few weeks has been going out with Richard Atton doing grip surveys on Blea Moor near Ribble head. Grips are interesting “things” as in some cases they aren’t typical land drains that get water to the river fastest, and they can be so varied in shape and size. Grip surveys are essential so that we can prioritise which we think need blocking, but also estimate cost of putting things right. You may be asking, why should we block them? Well beyond the aesthetics, they really are a blight on the landscape (maybe a touch subjective), but they cause pH fluctuations in water, increase the amount of sediment in streams, add a real “tea colour” to the Ribble, and destroy blanket bog, which is one of the most important natural eco-system services for sequestering Carbon from the atmosphere.
Here’s just a few examples:
We also helped the Environment Agency to try and identify if signal crayfish were present in a tiny tributary of the Hodder. The extra water made things more difficult and we had to go to plan B, and do it using electro fishing. We used this as an opportunity to gain valuable data (as well as look for crayfish) and cam accross one of the most fantastic examples of a salmon trout hybrid. This fish had the head of a juvenile salmon, the tail of a trout, and a body somewhere in between, one of the volunteers took a picture and as soon as I have a copy I will put it up for people to see. No crayfish were found, however traps have now been set and the trust working in partnership with the EA will monitor these for a couple of weeks to try and discover if signals are present or not. On the subject, our colleagues who we worked with previously to look at innovative ways of eradicating signals were busy all last week. Unfortunately we weren’t able to work on this project this year as time just did not allow, but Neil Handy from the Environment Agency and Stephanie Peyar gave them a great deal of support. Fingers crossed for some positive outcomes.
On Thursday evening we are holding an evening to talk to local farmers about who we are at the trust, what we are trying to do, but most importantly, how we can do this and help (NOT hinder) farmers – from grants to advice. If you are a local farmer and interested in coming along please drop us a line (01200444452) for more details.
Now it’s marrigolds and a dirty office for me….
August 5, 2011
Well Once again I can’t believe it’s been three weeks! But some much has happened it’s been unreal! This biggest and best news is that we have secured our Heritage Lottery Fund grant for phase 1 of the URES project – the Urban River Enhancement Scheme. This is a project focused on the Urban Rivers Brun and Calder in Burnley, the aim is to find groups in Burnley who want to take an active role in improving their rivers, and we hope to provide training equipment and opportunities to undertake work, as well as input into some of the bigger capital work we are planning to undertake. The project will involve the appointment of a community engagement officer, which we will be advertising for in the not to distant future. This person will co-ordinate all of the community and action group work. Once in place anyone who wants to get involved should contact the trust.
On the URES project, ground was broken on the key fish pass project in Burnley that will open up the Calder from Sea to source and get the Brun opened up to Thompson park where we will have two more weir to deal with, unfortunately we are struggling to get pictures up on the website at the moment, but if you’re in Burnley Town centre look for the big crane near homebase!
Our weir removal on Barrow brook has been undertaken and now fish can get several kilometres further up Barrow Brook. We also expect to start work on improving riparian habitat in the near future. We have come across another issue there which is some intermittent pollution. The brook every few weeks (without rainfall) suddenly becomes discoloured, it goes very opaque grey in colour. If you have seen this or have any info please let the Environment Agency know (0800 80 70 60) or drop us an email.
Our fencing schemes at Burholme Bridge and on Easington are now complete, and we are waiting until October/November to plant trees – which we will need help with so if you would like to volunteer for any tree planting please let me know. And thanks to all those volunteers who helped to deliver this.
We are now waiting for consent from the environment agency for the gravel addition and habitat improvements to Stock Beck, which we have been lucky enough to have funded from Lancashire Environment Fund, the Environment Agency, the Woodland Trust and support from Hanson Cement – are real multi organisation project! As well as this we hope to soon have consent for two fish easements on Chipping brook, and a large woody debris project on the Hodder near Newton (thanks to funding and support from the Bowland AONB).
Monday will see a fish easement project on Boyces brook commence which we hope (sorry salmon anglers) to see good weather continue for another 3 weeks!
If all the above isn’t enough we’ve also been preparing our projects on Cam and Gayle beck which we hope we will start to see real progress on in the next week. AND we have eben undertaking our electro fishing surveys. These are a little different this year, we have a very focused project on the spawning channels on Dunsop and Langden which Gareth will report on in October. As well as targeted surveys looking at the effects of abstraction on Brennand and Whitendale. This project is a partnership between the Trust the EA and United Utilities which is brilliant, and working with EA staff in the field has helped to strengthen our partnership (as well as make it all possible!) and will have wide ranging outcomes for any abstracted water. Needless to say with this amount of work we’ve all been doing 14 and 15 hour days for the last 4 weeks. Our many thanks to Adam Walmsey and Sam Ambler to their very hard work, we would have struggled without them!
As many people will be aware the Ribble has been listed as a “pilot” under a new way of delivering the Water Framework Directive. The EA and ourselves are just finalising details on a partnership that will see us jointly working on this pilot. In much the same way as our URES project, the aim is to find stakeholders who can help to deliver the objectives of the WFD (as well as others). This will be some of the usual suspects but we hope will provide the opportunity for anyone and everyone to involved in improving THEIR water environment. We hope to have more detail and how to get involved available in the coming weeks.
A date for the diary – 10th of September 2011 is the next Riverfly Partnership Training course, if you would like to be involved please email Catherine to sign up email@example.com
Finally if you have the chance to look at Trout and Salmon, our passport scheme is featured inside! Some tell me the picture I’m in is the best they’ve ever seen of me… it’s the back of my head!