Rocky fish ramps
May 8, 2012
It’s hard to believe that I’ve let a month slip by without a blog post, especially seeing this is meant to be the “quiet” gearing up month of the year. Unfortunately we have just been so busy preparing new projects, trying to secure funding and delivering on projects currently under way that I’ve not noticed the month fly past.
Last week saw me submit planning applications for fish easements on the River Brun (pre-barrage arrangement) and Stock Beck (our first rock ramp). This is what has taken up a huge part of my time. As despite being relatively simplistic projects they still require large amounts of preparation, from the Tree Surveys and Protection Plan, to the Environmental Impact Assessment, not to mention the flood risk modelling and design work! But hopefully we will obtain permission and then deliver these projects shortly afterwards.
On Saturday we are holding an anglers workshop, at the Swan and Royal in Clitheroe. We have a guest speaker from the Wildlife Trust, Kyle Young is returning to chair the workshop and deliver a presentation, and you know that I couldn’t help give a presentation myself! There are several aims for the day; to look at what Anglers priorities for river restoration are, whether they agree with the data that is held by the EA and the Trust on the current state of our rivers, and what information they can provide to improve the assessment. Also to look how anglers, angling clubs and others can help to bring about these restoration techniques. To that end we are having a presentation on how volunteers can survey rivers, how river restoration projects can be undertaken, and how we can deliver fish passage projects. There will be a short presentation from the RFCA on how to tackle other problems that clubs are facing. We have a relatively good turn out, but are hoping to see more individuals attend. This is a real opportunity for anglers to not only see the improvements they want, but help ensure they occur.
We also have meetings with the Forestry commission planned this week. We will be looking at where we can set up new joint projects to deliver woodland creation and riparian habitat improvements. Which leads me nicely on to where we did this on Cam and Gayle beck we hope to continue to do more, as this woodland creation and riparian improvement is leading to another iconic species being helped… Black Grouse! Incredibly not dissimilarly to salmon and trout they require a real mosaic of habitat, and on thing that is missing from the Ribble Head area is scrubby woodland, which we are trying to provide in bucket loads. The recent excitement over black grouse came last week when Adrian Shepherd from the National Park emailed to say around 9 black grouse were “Lekking” in the Ribble Head area. He then went one further and following a site visit on Friday, took me to see them. An absolutely fantastic site, and really pleasing to know that our work has much wider benefits than just fish and rivers!
The URES project has lead to catchment appraisal tours, one on the Brun and the other on the Calder. These were fantastically attended, and the feedback provided invaluable information for development of our project. A video of the calder tour can be found on Youtube. Speaking of videos of these tours, there is now more information on the Loud appraisal tour, and if you visit www.ribblelife.org.uk you can see this here. We have more of these tours planned for the summer and if you are interested in having one in your area or attending one please visit the Ribble Life website.
The invasive species project is now starting to deliver practical work, with Giant Hogweed beign the first to get tackled! There are Himalayan Balsam bashing events coming up soon, and so if you want to get involved contact email@example.com.
We are now involved in the Keeping Rivers Cool National Project, a project that seeks to aid in mitigating climate changes impact on water courses. We hope to deliver a raft of riparian habitat and woodland creation projects through this.
Our salmon tagging project is now starting to gather data, and for an update, please visit the salmon tagging page on this website, for a blog update from Gareth.
We are also working on a Barrier prioritisation model , that we hope to make available to other Rivers Trusts. This is linked to our work on the Darwen, in trying to figure out not just what work is feasible, but also what work should be done first. As part of this model we want to gather ecological data, but ecological data that can be gathered by volunteers, as well as professionals. For example electro fishing done by volunteers, or invertebrate sampling through the River Fly Partnership.
We also have dates booked in for the Riverfly Partnership training this year. We will be holding 2 days for volunteers to come and get trained. These are 30th of June and 14th of July, if you or anyone else you know are interested in joining one of the UKs biggest volunteer invert monitoring programmes please get in touch with Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Well as you can see we are fairly busy, and I could go on. But I will leave you with news of spotting two otters on the Calder a week ago. Given the size I would say mother and last years cub, but either way, it was a great site to see.