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BRISTOL AVON RIVERS TRUST
"A Clear Future for our River"

Ian Mock

BY BROOK FEASIBILITY REPORTS.

 

BART have completed a two year study of the By Brook catchment as part of a partnership project funded by the Environment Agency. The objectives of the project were to identify options which if pursued would lead towards the catchment meeting targets set within the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). The documents uploaded to this section of the website relating to the By Brook are:

 

  1. BART phase I report – completed 2014.
  2. Feasibility study by Royal Haskoning designed to ground truth BARTs study and set it within a whole catchment concept.
  3. An Ecosystem Services Assessment for the catchment.
  4. BART walkover study of remainder the catchment not covered in 2014.

 

The purpose of these reports is to determine what is possible NOT what is planned. The reports show what is feasible to improve the catchment as measured against WFD targets and which in many cases would restore the river to a more natural and sustainable stream. The report even suggests what a five year improvement plan might look like if money were no object. What happens in future must however be a balance which best meets the needs of the catchments landowners, sporting interests and those heritage and environmental factors valued by the many users of the brook and it’s banksides.

BART hope to encourage all stakeholders along the brook to work together to bring about improvements within the catchment into the future.

During the course of this project BART received help from a great many people who clearly care deeply about the brook and the creatures which depend on it. BART are thankful to everyone who helped, in whatever way, but would particularly like to thank the Friends of By Brook who have shown particular interest in the work we do throughout the project. We hope to maintain these excellent relationships into the future.

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Appendix A_By Brook Project Phase I Report

Appendix D1_By Brook Fluvial Audit Report

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By Brook Restoration Report_Final

The Wellow Brook Project

Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART) has formally completed its partnership project on a stretch of the Wellow Brook at Welton, Midsomer Norton. The project was carried out in partnership with the Wild Trout Trust and the Environment Agency. Many informal initiatives however will be continuing during the Summer.

The Wellow Brook was identified as a river that could benefit from some improvements for the benefit of wildlife and local residents. The brook through the town was a neglected resource and it was believed that a small project might be just the catalyst that was needed to engage the local community in appreciating the importance and amenity value of their local stream. The project site was chosen due to its proximity to a footpath which runs alongside the brook which is heavily used by local residents (particularly dog walkers and young children)

The aims of the project were to:

  • To draw attention to the brook and to highlight how local people could make a difference in maintaining it and improving it in the future, whilst also making some improvements to the brook.
  • To open up the river by coppicing a short stretch which would be immediately noticeable to local residents and to provide views along the brook which were previously hidden.  This would also allow extra light into the brook and along it’s bankside to promote plant growth and increase the productivity of the river.
  • To construct in-stream woody structures along the newly cleared stretch to introduce some variability to the flow pattern of the brook within its natural banks. It was intended that these structures would also act as refuges and habitats for juvenile fish, including the small numbers of brown trout present in the area.
  • To patch areas of bank erosion along the site using natural woody materials.
  •  To investigate other areas of the river for the future to offer ongoing solutions and opportunities for local people and the local authorities to continue improvement and maintenance of the town’s most valuable natural asset.

 

We also aimed to involve the local community in the above objectives wherever possible and increase local interest and ownership for the future using a number of methods

  • by training a number of volunteers in Riverfly invertebrate sampling on the Wellow
  • by conducting community riverside litter picks to clean up the river for local residents and get more people involved in the maintenance of their river.
  • by improving an access point to the river where bank erosion by people and dogs was becoming an issue but which offered great amenity value for children and schools.
  • by conducting other community engagement activities designed to reconnect people with their river and widen their knowledge of the issues it faces.

 

The coppicing has visually opened river views and access and we have already had a great response to this, with people commenting on how they are enjoying being able to see the river.

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 The project has introduced a greater of variety of flows into the river in the project area which have already been observed to increase the scour of the riverbed, which will undoubtedly improve habitat for invertebrates and the spawning potential for trout in the future. The berms are collecting sediment and plants have started to colonise them as a result – the banks are narrowing.

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The increased access allows people to see problems and report them. This has already led to feedback which has highlighted there may be a misconnections issue nearby which can now be identified.

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 BART believes the true value of projects such as these are the future possibilities created by the partnerships and people who become involved in them, not just the immediate assets delivered and this project will continue to deliver benefit long into the future.

Thanks to all of the volunteers involved in this project for your help!

More photos from the project:

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backup 03-2015 2147backup 03-2015 2188Wellow Riverfly

Bristol Frome Diffuse Pollution Project

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Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART) are delighted to have been asked to lead this project on behalf of the Bristol Avon Catchment Group, with funding provided through the DEFRA Catchment Partnership Action Fund.

BART will work in partnership with the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG SW) and the farmers and landowners along the Ladden Brook and Bradley Brook which form the headwaters of the Bristol Frome to identify and take actions to contribute towards the reduction of levels of sediment and nutrients entering the river. The Bristol Frome is currently failing Water Framework Directive measures for phosphates and this project will form part of a number of wider initiatives on the river which will result in further projects in the coming years.

Both BART and FWAG are charities who have developed to help the agricultural community by providing trusted independent, environmental advice.

The project is designed to kick start farming involvement in tackling these issues by providing specialist advice to local farmers who are best placed to  contribute to the solving these problems in this area. The project will find out what farmers think is required to solve these problems and will also help to raise awareness of best practices and share what has been achieved elsewhere.

The advice and improvements made on farms within the project area will not just help meet arbitrary targets; they will also deliver real ongoing benefits such as increased biodiversity and productivity, as well as improved health and well-being as a result of local community engagement within the project.

A weekend at Bristol Festival of Nature

BART spent the weekend at Bristol Festival of Nature in the Harbourside, where there were a huge variety of fantastic organisations and activities for people of all ages to get involved with. We were there as part of the Catchment Partnership talking about our work to improve the waterbodies of the Bristol Avon Catchment.

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As part of this, one of the activities that the Catchment Partnership organised was a game which involved picking a square section of photo of a Bristol nature scene and drawing it onto the corresponding blank square.  The result of this was two impressive abstract interpretations of our water environments. Can you spot your handiwork?

Before:

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After:

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The second image created, a boat in the harbour:

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Well done to everyone who took part, they look great!

BART would also like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who signed up to volunteer with us, we look forward to working with you in the future!

 

 

Know the Yeo – Sunday 5th July

YACWAG and BART are hosting a ‘How well do you know the Yeo’ event on the Millennium Green at Congresbury, Somerset.

Whether you are local to the Yeo or simply want to know more about the wildlife in your river, come along and join us on the 5th July between 11am and 4pm. It should be a fantastic day, with river dipping, eels, raft building/racing and many more activities!

For more information or any questions, please ring 01934 834282.

Click here to view the Know the Yeo Flyer