"A Clear Future for our River"


Electrofishing surveys on the Wellow Brook

Thanks to funding from the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership, BART carried out electrofishing surveys on the Wellow Brook this summer.  The study was undertaken to provide part of a set of data being collected to monitor improvements made by the boulder weir removal (read more about this here) and also a number of in stream habitat improvements made following funding from the Environment Agency.

On 6th and 7th June 2017, BART worked with Five Rivers Environmental Contracting to conduct electrofishing surveys on the Wellow Brook between Stoney Littleton and Wellow.  Electrofishing is a fish surveying technique combining a mixture of electrical current with a known water conductivity to temporarily stun fish in order to measure and document the population and community fish statistics at a freshwater location.

The following fish were found during the survey:  Brown trout, European eel, Brook lamprey, Stone loach, Common bullhead, Minnow, 3 spined stickleback and 9 spined stickleback.  During the surveys, most fish were found at pinch points where both fish cover and flows increased significantly compared to otherwise straightened and canalised sections.  Recommendations were made to increase pinch points in these straightened sections of the river and introduce woody debris.  The findings of the electrofishing study were used to inform the river restoration works carried out by BART on the Wellow brook in September and October 2017. Read about the river restoration work to improve fish habitat here!


A summer of ecological surveys

BART’s ecologist, Jessy Grant, has been busy this summer with lots of exciting ecological monitoring projects for both BART and external clients.  Here’s more information about some of our ecological work!:

  • Case study:  Wellow brook pre-restoration surveys – Summer 2017

BART carried out a suite of surveys on the Wellow brook at Stoney Littleton in summer 2017 to assess the ecological conditions of the brook before beginning river habitat restoration works in September 2017.  (To read about the habitat restoration project please click here). The area where restoration was going to take place was divided into an upstream and downstream section.  In each section Jess undertook one macroinvertebrate survey, one 100m macrophyte survey and a 400m River Corridor Survey covering the whole section.  It is hoped that with further funding post restoration, monitoring will be carried out one year after the river restoration works to measure the changes. 

Analysis of the data found that the Wellow Brook at Stoney Littleton has a good diversity of macroinvertebrates and macrophytes present.  Water Framework Directive (WFD) classification results found the brook to be at “good status” for macroinvertebrates and macrophytes in the downstream stretch and “high status” for macrophytes and macroinvertebrates in the upstream stretch.  Recommendations were made for river restoration works in the straight sections of the brook where flow is slow, the substrate is predominantly silt and there is heavy shading.  The findings of the surveys informed the September in-stream restoration works, which helped to increase sinuosity and channel diversity in straighter sections of the channel where the flow is slower and decreased over-shading of the channel. 

  • Case study:  Corston and Newton Brooks’ environmental assessment and walkover surveys – Spring and Summer 2017

In spring and summer of 2017 the Duchy of Cornwall funded BART to undertake environmental monitoring on the Corston and Newton Brooks, west of Bath.  The aim of the monitoring was to record and assess the current environmental conditions of the brooks within the Duchy of Cornwall’s land and to make recommendations for potential improvements to the waterbodies.  Monitoring included macrophyte surveys, macroinvertebrate surveys, water quality surveys, waterbody assessment walkover surveys, wet weather walkover surveys and tree surveys.  The data and findings are being put together in a report for the Duchy of Cornwall, so watch this space for further information!








BART help to develop new app on river health

BART have recently been helping a local company called Epimorphics to gain an understanding of how best to display river health data for use by conservationists and members of the public. Mihajlo kindly wrote us a piece on the project below with some helpful links with details of the app:

My name is Mihajlo Milosavljevic, I am an intern at the company called Epimorphics working on the development of an android application called myRivers.
myRivers is a simple way of browsing detailed river pollution reports in the UK. It provides users with three map layers all showcasing a different dataset provided by the Environment Agency. Three layers include reports of river catchment quality, water quality and pollution discharge permits.
Throughout the project we have benefited enormous support from BART Project Officers. During our meetings with their team we have managed to gather valuable domain specific feedback which made a big impact to the design and functionality of the application. Out main goal was development of a tool that can be useful to anyone interested in the quality of the UK rivers but also a tool that provides detailed reports that can be found useful by the experts in this area such as the members of the Rivers Trust. The application is now available on the Google Play Store and can also be found using this link.

myRivers can be downloaded from the Google app store from the link in the above quote.

Thanks to the Mihajlo and the Epimorphics team for their hard work in making river health data more accessible!

Citizen science monitoring resources

Thank you so much to everyone who has taken part in our Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership funded Freshwater Watch citizen science project over the last year, from those of you who sampled during the one week Waterblitz, to those farmers, community groups, schools and Riverfly monitors who sampled throughout the year. We have received an amazing amount of data on phosphates and nitrates (over 450 samples!) and we couldn’t have collected all of this without you. We will be analysing the data as soon as we receive it all, so watch this space to find out the results!

Thanks to all of our volunteers for their water quality monitoring efforts

Unfortunately we have now run out of test kits so are unable to provide anymore until we can find another funder to continue the project. We are still getting a number of requests from landowners, fishing clubs and individuals to monitor which is fantastic and if you are interested in doing your own monitoring, we recommend taking a look at the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) Citizen Science and Volunteering Monitoring Resources document here. It details some of the most recommended kits looking at a variety of water quality variables including oxygen concentration, phosphates and nitrates and many others.

An example of some of the monitoring kits recommended by CaBA and reviewed by several Rivers Trusts around the country.

If you are a community group or club, BART may be able to help you raise funds in order to purchase monitoring equipment. Do get in touch with our Project Manager if this is an opportunity you would like us to explore – harriet@bristolavonriverstrust.org



Fish population survey reports

The local Environment Agency team have recently published their fish population reports for the Bristol Avon catchment 2016, assessing the health of our rivers to inform future management.

Click below to read the reports:

Bristol Avon – fish population survey report

Bristol Avon – Wild Brown Trout population survey report

River Chew – fish population survey report

Somerset Frome – fish population survey report