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

Research

Bristol Avon Waterblitz 2019

Bristol Avon Rivers Trust are excited to announce the 2019 Bristol Avon WaterBlitz; a yearly campaign to collect as many water quality samples as possible in a week from across the Bristol Avon Catchment, between Saturday 1st June – Friday 7th June.

Join hundreds of people in using the free and simple to use water testing kit to sample your chosen river or stream in the Bristol Avon catchment (Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and North East Somerset).

To register and take part, please follow the link below to sign up and you will then receive a free water quality sampling pack in the post. Sampling kits are limited so please register by Friday 24th May to ensure you can participate:

https://tinyurl.com/waterblitz

Thanks to Bristol Water and the Avon Frome Partnership for supporting this year’s Waterblitz!

River Chew Fisheries Improvement Strategy

During 2019, BART will be delivering a River Chew Fisheries Improvement Strategy to develop improvement plans which could be made to the river as a fishery. The work will build on the recent Environment Agency fisheries reports highlighting the need for fisheries improvements and will be designed to help scope improvements which may be made from potential future funding.

The project will work with the Environment Agency Fisheries Team, angling clubs, landowners and partners throughout the length of the Chew and its tributaries.

Relationships made during this strand of the wider Chew catchment project will contribute to building a foundation for future interventions.

This project has been made possible via funding from the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership and the Environment Agency. BART are incredibly thankful for their support to the project.

For further project information please contact simon@bristolavonriverstrust.org

Barrier assessments for Bristol Water

The BART team have been busy this month doing barrier assessments for Bristol Water to understand which fish species (if any) can get over a number of weirs. Fish need to move along rivers to feed, breed and to find suitable habitat and unnatural features such as this prevent this, as well as detrimentally affecting the rivers habitats and flows. If you are interested, you can read more on the impacts of weirs here.

 

Bristol Avon WaterBlitz 2018 – the results

Our Bristol Avon WaterBlitz is run annually to assess the health of the rivers and the streams within the catchment. As part of the WaterBlitz, participants test the water quality by taking samples to find out the levels of nitrate and phosphate in their chosen river or stream.

This year’s Bristol Avon WaterBlitz was run between the 23rd-29th of June 2018. The event engaged with over 260 participants to take 120 samples within the Bristol Avon catchment.

The WaterBlitz uses these results to assess the levels of excess nutrients in the rivers/streams in the catchment. Nitrate and phosphate occur naturally in rivers and are nutrients for plants and essential for wildlife. Excessive amounts of these nutrients may cause toxic algal blooms which harms aquatic insects and fish by decreasing oxygen levels and increases the cost of treating drinking water.

This year’s results shows that there is an increase in phosphate from last year, with 0.1mg/l, with an average of 0.16mg/l which is slightly above the agreed levels for a healthy river. However, nitrate levels have decreased with an average of 3.1mg/l compared to last year’s 4.2mg/l. Nitrate has no official standard for levels in rivers/streams.

To see more results please see the Interactive Results Map here.

Thanks to the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership for funding this project this year.

We are already on the lookout for funding to run this important research project again next year so if you are a business or individual who could help, do get in touch!

Fish passage assessments at Radstock

Yesterday BART spent the day on the Wellow Brook assessing fish passage on three weirs in Radstock. We measured the physical characteristics of the weirs including water depths, height and length of structure and also flow velocities and inserted these into a database which calculates the passability of the structures for a number of different species. Unfortunately, the database confirmed that all three barriers presented a barrier to a range of fish species and therefore we will be investigating weir removal possibilities or fish passage options for these in the future.

This work is part of our wider Wellow and Cam Initiative which we have been working on for a number of years but which has picked up a lot of pace recently. The initiative includes: weir removals and fish passage surveys, coppicing, instream work, river corridor surveys, macroinvertebrate surveys, electrofishing surveys, land management advice , education and much more.

This piece of work was funded by Tesco Bags of Help – thanks to everyone who voted for us with your tokens in store!