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

Bristol Avon Rivers Trust,

8 North Court
The Courtyard
Woodlands
Bradley Stoke
Bristol
BS32 4NQ

info@bristolavonriverstrust.org

 

Donations

BART is a non-profit organisation and all of our work requires funding. If you would like to help us to improve our rivers then please click on the link below:

MAKE A DONATION

Partners

Catchment management

BART believes the most important and successful way to manage a river system is at catchment level. This page will provide a background to Catchment Management within the Bristol Avon catchment and highlight some of the ways BART is or will be contributing. You will also find links and reading material so that you can decide for yourselves how you can become involved in measures to protect our rivers and streams. The big strength of Catchment Management is that it is wholly inclusive, no one owns it, and progress therefore has to be made by partnership working – forming alliances and joint projects with an objective of delivering multiple benefits, some at a strategic level, and many, many others on a very local level.

Latest Catchment management……

Chew Catchment Project

We are excited to announce that we are leading the development of a new collaborative Chew Catchment Project designed to bring together local community groups in a mutual mission to protect the River Chew and its tributaries for years to come. In response to the spatial complexities of the catchment, we will adopt a “whole catchment” strategy to deal with the many different challenges.

During the summer of 2019, we will be providing riverfly training so that local residents can monitor the ecology of the river and explore how it develops. The data will then be used by Bristol Water and the Environment Agency to measure the success of the scheme.

We will also be delivering a suite of smaller projects throughout the catchment during 2019/20 – watch this space for details.

To date, project partners include Bristol Water, Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership, Environment Agency and Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Further details of the initiatives delivered to date can be found on project partner Bristol Water’s website:

https://www.bristolwater.co.uk/river-chew-extension-creates-a-new-home-for-wildlife/

Caring for the Cam

BART have gratefully received funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery for improvement works along the Cam Brook at Midford. BART will be delivering a suit of work to build upon the 2018/19 Environment Agency funded project. The Postcode Local Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The Caring for the Cam Project will promote community ownership of the Cam Brook near Bath & educate local people how to protect the river into the future. It will result in a river that has better habitat & water quality for both wildlife & people.

The project will deliver riparian fencing to prevent bank poaching, installation of a drinking trough away from the waterbody, tree planting to improve habitat refuge and bank integrity, a community river dipping and riverfly event and local talks to communicate how people can help protect their local river into the future.

Please follow BART website and social media pages for project updates.

To find out more about the project, please contact simon@bristolavonriverstrust.org

Restoring the Wellow, Midford & Cam Brooks

BART has recently secured funding via the Environment Agency’s Water & Environment Improvement Fund to deliver habitat enhancement projects in two locations along the Cam & Wellow Brooks. The project aims to directly improve two water-bodies that are not meeting Water Framework Directive targets – in particular failing for fish where the classification has declined to poor in the 2016 cycle.

The project scope was developed in partnership with Avon & Tributaries Angling Association, who own the fishing rights of these waters. To date, BART has delivered stakeholder engagement, secured landowner permissions, finalised the project design and secured the required permits to physically deliver the works. Initial clearance and blockage removal will be underway very shortly.

The project will address the following issues:

  • Problematic sedimentation and diffuse pollution – there are multiple locations where livestock poaching is exacerbating bank erosion, causing increased yields of suspended sediments and faecal matter entering the river system. Current practice is likely to be detrimental to the health and recruitment of fish and other aquatic organisms including benthic invertebrates.
  • Poor fish access and supporting habitat – boulder weirs are impounding the flow of the river whilst creating barriers to smaller fish. As a consequence, a stretch of the river has become canalised, characterised by sluggish flows and limited habitat diversity or niches.
  • Limited fish spawning habitat – at present, high-potential spawning habitat is inaccessible to migratory fish due to blockages caused by fallen trees, waste material and collected detritus. Blockages also impound the river, creating unfavourable conditions for fish spawning. If removed there is potential to re-introduce idyllic spawning and juvenile refuge habitat. Livestock poaching is also extensive throughout this reach and will be addressed. 

Image 1. Bank poaching contributing fine sediments and clogging potential spawning riffles.

 

Follow our project progress via our Twitter page https://twitter.com/BristolAvonRT and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bristolavonrivers/

For more information with regard to this project, please get in touch with simon@bristolavonriverstrust.org.

‘Backroom BART’ update, BART CEO

By Ian Mock, BART CEO…

The above picture is a bit like Backroom BART at present. It is a time of year when Accounts and looming AGM’s cause you to have to take stock of what happened last year whilst also ensuring the foundations are laid for the next. It is also the tie of year when being ‘backroom’ is certainly not what you want to be.

Looking back for AGM purposes means signing off Accounts and reviewing the year through the lens of external stakeholders. Have we survived financially and have we delivered against targets set. Well, yes – we did in the end have a very strong year and I am hoping our accountant will agree with me. We also delivered on all our projects despite the awful Winter. There was a time when we worried that this might not happen but that seems to be the way of small charities and small businesses.

We also managed some ‘firsts’ during the year. Sadly, one was having to let an employee go. Apparently something that is not unusual in our sector where funding is not secure but very hard to do all the same. We also received our first commitment to a regular monthly donation. The fact that someone appreciates what we are trying to do to that extent is wonderful. We also received several donations for offering simple help and advice which again is extremely gratifying and a tribute to our team, including a kind £1000 donation from a community group. BART does not expect donations to be a great contributor to funds and to end the year with a donation from one community group we have supported came as a huge boost to morale.

Looking back and logging the events and people we have met and who have helped us, BART really would like to thanks supporters and funders alike for what turned out to be a near record year in the end.

A final look backwards:

BART Trustees again reviewed the work we carry out with the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership and agreed we should continue to put effort into supporting the partnership in the year to come. Our ability to take part in more complex joint enterprises is vastly increased by our membership of the partnership and we look forward to helping shape future work whenever we can. We are so convinced that Partnership working is the way forward that BART have agreed to become Joint hosts of the Partnership this year.

Repeat business is the aim for most successful businesses. Working on a large estate to help create an inventory of actions to improve water quality and habitat led to a report – like many projects do. A wash up meeting attended by a nervous BART duo resulted in a commitment to £50k of improvements being implemented in the coming year. A delighted BART duo left the meeting looking forwards.

Looking forwards:

We have some incredibly exciting opportunities which we will share through the newsletter as they unfold. We will be

  • Restoring habitat on at least four locations
  • Removing some more boulder weirs and improving trout spawning areas
  • Continuing our eel in the classroom work
  • Working with teachers to improve GIS skills (and river catchment knowledge) in schools
  • Interviewing four new Trustees
  • Carrying out three Natural Flood Management projects
  • Undertaking some exciting eel monitoring
  • Delivering multiple fish passage feasibility studies

And that’s what we have planned so far, we are sure many new opportunities will arise.  Backroom BART is not a chicken counter but we have made a strong start to the year already.

Finally, most importantly at this time of year, Backroom BART has been walking the rivers – been wading chest deep in some and peering over bridges with team members, landowners and some very knowledgeable anglers. Sharing a love of rivers with others is infinitely more enjoyable than just being a solo carer. Showing my team barbel hovering below spawning beds in beautiful clear Spring sunshine and clear water a few weeks ago and hearing their excitement is perhaps my favourite event of the year so far. These beautiful fish literally held station in the strong flow with tiny fin movements whilst smaller fish were swept across the current dramatically. A stunning sight. Add this to multiple hare and dipper sightings and it has been a marvellous few weeks.

I hope you all get some time on our lovely rivers and streams this Spring and Summer – it really is important that BART and many others continue to work hard to look after them.

Thank you,

Ian Mock

BART CEO

Rod licence funds – Environment Agency reports

The Environment Agency has today released the annual fisheries report detailing how rod licence income was distributed by the agency and its partners to protect and enhance angling and fisheries. The report details aspects of fisheries including money used to restock England’s rivers, enforcement and participation.

The Wessex report, featuring our weir removals on the Wellow Brook near Bath, can be found here.

Other reports can be viewed here.