March 21, 2012
Well my post slipped a bit, after being good at posting every fortnight, it’s now nearing 3 weeks, and as per my usual excuse it’s down to work load. Well that and the lovely winter sickness bug I picked up last week!
Sometimes it feels hard to sum up what’s being going on at the trust, this usually happens in those weeks that delivery on the ground is either so big that getting it into a page or two seems to hard, or we are in a preparation period for the next round of work. The last couple of weeks has been a mixture of the two!
Tree planting has been going on like crazy as the planting season draws to an close at the end of this month. 2000 trees have been planted up above Horton in Ribblesdale, 500+ at Easington and 800 near Settle. I can’t wait for these trees to grow and create valuable riparian woodland, trouble is, that’s about 10 years away, and I certainly don’t want to wish the years away – at the moment I’m trying to figure out if we can get more hours in the day and days in the week! We’ve also got tree planting on Stock Beck next Wednesday and Saturday, so if you’re free and can help out….get in touch!
As well as the tree planting there was a river clean up on the Calder, carried out in conjunction with Mitre Angling Club. This was a trial for the URES project, seeing how we could work with stakeholders and add value by bringing other volunteers. It was a successful trial with 20 volunteers turning up and 2 skips of rubbish being taken out of the river, instead of the usual 1! Our thanks to Mitre Angling Club for organising much of the day, and thanks to the volunteers for getting their feet wet and hands dirty. There is another clean up day planned for Sunday at Martholme, if you are interested in helping out please get in touch with Catherine (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details.
Work is now drawing to a close at Chipping, however as with most in river work additional improvements were identified that we hope to deliver in the summer. I think it looks pretty good, and I’m excited to see what the electro fishing results will turn up in 2013, yes unfortunately it will be another year before we get the results as it the work was carried out after the end of the spawning season.
We’ve now started our detailed planning and consent application process for 4 more fish easements, due to be delivered in the summer, at Easington, Bond Beck, Stock Beck and on the Brun. Details will appear on our projects page soon. We’ve several more projects of this nature lined up, but will need to wait and see how our funding applications get on. We should get some news in April (fingers crossed).
We met with Manchester Anglers Association Council on Saturday to discuss the works carried out so far, and what we hope to carry out on Gayle beck in the next couple of weeks. It was a great meeting and we hope to keep the momentum going as this really is top down ecological river restoration!
We’ve also organised an Angling Interest Workshop for May, this workshop will look at what existing evidence and data is held on the current state of the Ribble, what additional needs inclusion, and how working with angling interests we can address the problems. This will be by invitation to Chairmen and Secretaries of Angling clubs (or their chosen representatives) and we have drawn up a list of clubs and interests we know of. We’ll be working with the RFCA to make sure the list is as complete as possible, and if you haven’t heard from us in 3 weeks, get in touch. We really see this as an opportunity for anglers to get involved in delivering improved rivers.
There are also lots of Catchment Appraisal Tours planned for the coming months, dates to be announced, but these offer the opportunity to walk a section of a local sub catchment with the trust and EA, to look at the issues we’ve identified, but also to capture other people’s issues, and concerns. Keep an eye out on our website and the Ribble Life as well as the URES website.
With the trout season now underway we will be putting up a display board at Mitton for anglers to provide information for anglers using not just this beat, but any of the passport scheme beats. I managed to sneak out for some trout fishing at the weekend on the Irwell, which after 5 hours finally rewarded me with a couple of nice fit fish! Tightlines to anyone else going out fishing, and please have a go at our passport scheme beats!
March 5, 2012
Another Fortnight has passed, and I wonder where it went? It’s been a very busy few weeks, on the 22nd of February we submitted for projects to the Catchment Restoration Fund; Colne Water Catchment Restoration Project, Diffusing the issue in rural Ribble, Limestone Ribble Restoration Project, and Reconnecting the Ribble – People, species and habitats.
A huge body of work went into these project plans (including my life blood – or so it felt!), and we hope to have some news on how successful (or not) the bids were in April. They are holistic projects that will be addressing all issues of restoration from physical channel and connectivity, to drainage, pollution and stake holder engagement. We have forged several strong partnerships through Ribble Life to create a means of delivering these projects, such as with the; RSPB, Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission, the Wild Trout Trust, the Ribble Fisheries Consultative Association, Durham University and many of the angling clubs and local community groups. If successful we will be holding workshops in late May early June to bring input from all river stakeholders.
Following the submission I attended a National Catchment Restoration Seminar in Birmingham, based around the principle of working with water companies and “Upstream Thinking”. This was a well-attended seminar, with many interesting presentations from the water companies, DEFRA, OFWAT, DWI, NE, and the NFU. If really shows how partnering with all of the above delivery of cleaner and healthier rivers can be achieved for the benefit of the environment and for the water coming out of our taps. The most interesting fact of the day for me is that degraded peat bogs actually give off something like 2.56 tonnes of CO2 per Hectare and restored functioning peat bogs sequester 6.67 tonnes of CO2 per hectare. So our work on Blea moor is now sequestering a fair few tonnes of Carbon!
On the Thursday and Friday I attended the Northern Rivers Trust Conference in Penrith. The first day was in relation to the River Improvement Fund that has been part funding much of the work we have been doing over the last 2 years (including Padiham, Barrowford, Brun and Calder Fish passes) and is part funding many of the projects in the coming year. The second day involved information and training around the DEFRA pilots, including guidance and background information from DEFRA on what they would like to see as part of the pilots. There are a total of 25 official pilots, 10 are being run by the EA (and we are a co-host in this pilot) and the other 15 by other organisations (including 6 by rivers trusts). It was very informative and inspirational; the work on the Ripple project in Ireland was of particular interest.
Last week I was away for a couple of days making final preparations for my upcoming wedding! It was nice to re-charge the batteries slightly! On Friday I was back into the swing of things and made site visits to look at progress on our works at Chipping. With one project all but completed (couple of minor amendments to be made) and the other 1/3 of the way through it felt good to be seeing work delivered on the ground, especially with the good weather making it feel as though spring was now here!
Friday was also a volunteer planting day on Cam beck. Almost all tree planting was completed by Sunday. And our many thanks to those volunteers who turned out! We are really getting a good system going for our volunteer days now!
Also over the last two weeks our outline proposals for the Burnley works were produced and presented to the project steering group. This had some great feedback, and we hope that the URES website will be up and running soon for all to see our proposals!
The invasives project ran its first training day in partnership with Myerscough College which was a fantastic day and well attended. Our thanks to Myerscough College, as well as the volunteers who made it a fantastic day. Soon there will be other training days for volunteers wanting to undertake works. Please get in touch with Adam or Charlie if you are interested.
Ribble Life is pushing ahead and we’ve held several more meetings with Stakeholders. We are planning some more catchment appraisal tours and workshops from April onwards, so please keep an eye on the Ribble Life Website for information. You will notice the website has limited information on it. We would encourage you as stakeholders to send in information and articles that you would like to see on there.
Gareth has now completed the 2011 Fisheries Scientist report which you will find online later today. This report is a fantastic piece of work, and shows how the last 4 years are coming together. You will see that we’ve produced a very initial inter year graph showing how populations of fry are fluctuating. I would ask that you remember these graph are only at sites REPEATED EVERY year for the last 4 years. So it doesn’t show how populations have varied at every site, only those that have been repeated. However this will improve each year as we have increase our surveys and repeated site each year, e.g. we 202 sites in 2008, 243 in 2009, 273 in 2010 and 300+ in 2011.
The Darwen walkover are now almost complete and we will be starting to draw up our priority sites for fish passage in the next few months, ahead of finalising the list once invert and fisheries surveys are completed over the summer.