Another year roles by
April 2, 2012
Well Today is my 4 year anniversary of joining Ribble Trust. It’s amazing what has happened in those four short years, we have grown as a trust in both types of work, area covered, and man power. And I don’t just mean employees, we are now delivering massive amounts of volunteer work, on a scale that’s unprecedented at the trust. In the last season we’ve put in over 7,000 trees, erected 10,000 metres of fencing and surveyed 500 fish sites, 36 otter spraint sites and 39 invertebrate sites (5 times!). This has been possible down to our dedicated volunteers, we hope to build on this in the coming year – to see even more improvements to the river and pride installed in those volunteers who helped achieve it. Also I’d like to thank farmhouse fare who have been providing some puddings to volunteers for helping out, these seem to be going down a storm, and I hope demand for puddings doesn’t out strip supply.
As a thank you to our invertebrate sampling volunteers we held a social evening last week, which was well attended, although there was still a lot of food left at the end (mainly down to the Old Post House Hotel’s generosity)! After a presentation or two, and a refresher on the invertebrates we hope to see in the coming month we held a competition, who can correctly name the most invertebrates. We had three people with 100% whose names were drawn from a hat, and Judy Opit was our winner of vouchers for a local supermarket! This is vital work and we really value the input. We have been successful in bidding for funding with the Environment Agency to run another course or two this year. So if you are interested in joining our invertebrate monitoring programme, please get in touch with Catherine (email@example.com). It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and I hope that it will motivate the volunteers to keep going, and inspire more to join.
Our salmon tagging project is eking ever nearer, the delivery of equipment has occurred and now we are waiting on the EA to do some electrical testing ahead of installing the kit. With this weeks, weather forecast it’s none to soon!
Our tree planting has now nearly ended with some more on Cam beck planned as soon as some paperwork comes through. We have finished our work on Stock Beck and although we don’t want to wish the years away, can’t wait to see the fully grown trees, shading the river! Subject to final paperwork and approval, we have been successful in some bids for funding to further our work on Stock Beck and Cam and Gayle Beck. This news was well timed as I met with Manchester Anglers Association last week to discuss current and future habitat works on their water on Gayle Beck, and with their support we will now deliver a massively beneficial project for the whole of the Ribble.
We are now awaiting news on the rest of our grant bids to see what projects we will be taking forward this year. It is a strange time, when we are working on projects funded, and have developed and secured consent to deliver more projects but are in limbo until funding is secured. That said we aren’t resting on our laurels we are chasing up other possible projects!
I met with the Woodland Trust last week to look at our projects from last year and how we can work together this year. Working with the Woodland Trust is a real pleasure, our passion for rivers is matched by their passion for woodland, and when you consider the benefits of putting this together it’s incredible what we can achieve. For example woodland provides shading to keep water cool (this is particularly important for trout who are particularly sensitive to water temperature), stabilise banks (reducing diffuse pollution and creating pools), providing cover for fish, invert, birds and otters, reducing flooding (trees slow down over land flow of water and increase percolation), provide food for invertebrates (the autumn fall of leaves creates food for freshwater shrimp that are essential items diet items for fish and dippers). So with all that in mind we are really looking forward to working together on projects this year.
I was excited to find otter spraints at a site previously devoid of evidence of otters in the mid-Ribble area last week. The spraint was also very fresh which surprised me as it was on a very small stream a long way from the bigger water that one would expect otters to be hunting in at this time of year, but I’ve read that otters will range a surprising distance even in the course of just one night.
The week before last I undertook the invertebrate sampling programme on Mearley Brook with the Environment Agency. This is our 4th year of the project and, what was fantastic to see was some significant improvements to the sites. The EA have been conducting a pollution prevention campaign – targeted engagement visits to premises, providing advice and guidance on site management to avoid pollution. These were on the back of the surveys, targeting areas highlighted as at risk of causing pollution. These results showed that this campaign is working, however there are still serious problems around the Shaw Bridge area that need further investigation.
Hopefully most of you will be receiving our monthly volunteer day opportunities email, if not please contact Catherine, and she will forward a copy on. We also hope to put a projects calendar on our website, showing when we plan to start work etc. This will allow people to track our progress and also get more involved.