S&TC launches first SmartRivers hub in Scotland

S&TC launches first SmartRivers hub in Scotland in partnership with Flow Country Rivers Trust.

The River Halladale is set to become the first river in Scotland to join SmartRivers, as Salmon and Trout Conservation continue trials of the innovative scheme.

The scheme, born out of the Riverfly Census, uses aquatic invertebrates as a diagnostic test to tell us about the health of rivers and possible pollutants affecting wild fish populations.

Nick Measham, S&TC Deputy CEO said:

 “We’re delighted to be able to support Flow Country Rivers Trust with our SmartRivers programme. SmartRivers is what S&TC is all about, turning science into meaningful real-world action, that here and now improves outcomes for wild fish and the wider habitat.  We are very much looking forward to working with FCRT over the coming years.”

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Quick and easy to deploy, but also producing powerful information. Polluters of rivers and streams in England have already been forced to take action.

"SmartRivers Delivering Results"

SmartRivers provides both information to assist with catchment management decisions, as well as establishing an insurance policy for rivers in the form of a benchmark of their health. Real world empirical evidence about the diversity of invertebrate species which form the foundation of the food web in rivers will support the indicative monitoring of conductivity, pH levels and fry numbers.

Reuben Sweeting, Head Ghillie on the River Halladale said:

“SmartRivers is the final piece of the puzzle.  It complements the range of monitoring already being carried out, helping to develop a fuller picture of the health of our rivers and, crucially, allowing us to better understand the potential they hold.

 Being part of the team to bring SmartRivers north to Scotland for the first time is very exciting.  With the opportunity to attain professional level benchmarking, combined with sampling and identification training, the benefits will be felt by all involved.”

A comprehensive online and field based training scheme, 1-2-1 support and good use of information technology, including a dedicated S&TC Invert ID App, ensures that local community groups themselves are able to monitor the water quality in their rivers to a near-professional standard.

Lauren Mattingley, SmartRivers Project Manager S&TC said:

 “We are overjoyed to be extending our water quality work into Scottish rivers. Ensuring young salmon and trout are as fit and healthy as possible before they migrate to sea is crucial for them to successfully complete their life cycles.

 It is astounding that tiny invertebrates can give us such vast insight into the quality of the water our young fish are being exposed to. Working with the FCRT volunteers on the Halladale is going to be fascinating.”

Benchmark monitoring on the River Halladale will be carried out in spring and autumn 2020. The first independent monitoring by the volunteers, under the auspices of the Flow Country Rivers Trust, will occur in spring 2021.

Alan Youngson, Scientific advisor, FCRT

"Over the last few years the FCRT and the local Fishery Boards have worked hard to build a better picture of the northern rivers and the salmon populations that they support. However, we still know very little about the invertebrate populations that the fish depend on for food. We look forward to learning much more from the professionals driving the Smart Rivers project."

John Mackay, Chairperson, Flow Country Rivers Trust said:

 “Currently the North of Scotland rivers are in very good health, but we are mindful of the deteriorating situation across the UK. We have a database of the juvenile numbers, biomass density and the water conductivity for all the 10 rivers in the FCRT area. The Smart Rivers project to measure the insect food supply will add to this database and provide a benchmark, which will hopefully give us advance warning of a change in our environment.”

 For more information about SmartRivers and how it could support your river management activities, please email: smartrivers@salmon-trout.org

 Please note: We can only run courses with groups of around 10 volunteers and not for individuals. However, if you are struggling to establish a 'hub' group your local Rivers Trust or Wildlife Trust may be able to help.

ENDS

Issued by Corin Smith comms@salmon-trout.org (T: 07463 576892)

Reporting with a purpose

S&TC is a national organisation and we use evidence from local case studies to help instigate policy changes that will benefit UK wild fish populations. But, this is just part of the value - we are making all our Riverfly Census findings available so they can be used to inform local management and drive action.

Each individual river report is based on three years of surveying data. Where possible, we have linked up our findings with other existing literature and data. Using the available information we suggest where local fishing and/or conservation groups can focus their management efforts to achieve the best health outcomes for each of the 12 original Census rivers.

Some of our local reports can be found on the slider below. Alternatively, visit the Riverfly Census page and scroll down to the map.

Change of Chief Executive at Salmon & Trout Conservation

S&TC’s CEO, Paul Knight, is to retire at the end of June and Nick Measham, currently Deputy Chief Executive, will take over the reins of the UK’s premier wild fish charity.

Paul Knight stands down on June 30th after 26 years with the organisation, 18 of which have been as CEO, although he will continue for a further year with some part-time consultancy work, mainly connected to his Co-chairmanship of the NGOs at the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organistion (NASCO).

Paul Knight and Nick Measham, third and fourth from right respectively.

During Paul Knight’s tenure, the organisation evolved from being the governing body for game angling into a fisheries charity (2008), changed its name from Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA) to Salmon & Trout Conservation (S&TC) in 2016, and had two office moves from Fishmongers’ Hall, culminating in its first ever dedicated HQ, which is now located in Wiltshire.

Above all, the charity has gradually developed the focus of its work from being an angling interest group to a fisheries conservation organisation with policies built on sound scientific evidence.  S&TC now sees angling as being a dividend of its work to create healthy wild fish stocks, water quality and freshwater and marine habitats, and its membership base is still mainly anglers, albeit those with a vision of their place within the wider water environment and their critical role in its future protection

Paul Knight had this to say about his time at S&TC, 

“I have been extremely proud to work for this organisation for a quarter of a century, during which we made some substantial changes to the way in which we operate.  I am very grateful to the six Chairs, all the Trustees and, before them, Council and Committee members, and of course the many volunteers at branch and national levels, all of whom have helped make my job so enjoyable.  I am handing over to a very able successor in Nick Measham, with whom I have worked for five years and so continuity is assured.  Despite our hard-won achievements over the years, there is still much to do to protect wild salmon and trout and the water environments on which they depend, and I wish S&TC, Nick and our tremendous staff the very best for the future.”  

Nick Measham has a background in investment management and a near life-long fascination with rivers and fish. He joined S&TA, as it then was, in 2015.  He project-managed S&TC’s highly successful Riverfly Census initiative and oversaw the expansion of freshwater campaigns to improve water quality and riverine habitat, and still found time to be an extremely effective fundraiser.

Nick Measham said,

“I am excited to take on the challenge to build on our achievements under Paul Knight to protect wild salmon and trout from the harm wreaked by over-exploitation, fish farming, poor water quality, land management issues and over abstraction. I inherit a talented and committed team and together we will strive to carry forwards our evidence-based advocacy for wild fish and their habitats.”   

High-frequency phosphorus monitoring for water quality management

Using high-frequency phosphorus monitoring for water quality management: a case study of the upper River Itchen, UK

Gary R. Fones & Adil Bakir & Janina Gray & Lauren Mattingley & Nick Measham & Paul Knight & Michael J. Bowes & Richard Greenwood & Graham A. Mills

Abstract Increased concentrations of phosphorus (P) in riverine systems lead to eutrophication and can contribute to other environmental effects. Chalk rivers are known to be particularly sensitive to elevated P levels. We used high-frequency (daily) automatic water sampling at five distinct locations in the upper River Itchen (Hampshire, UK) between May 2016 and June 2017 to identify the main P species……..

Read the full paper HERE

Dr Janina Gray, Head of Science & Environmental Policy at S&TC said: 

"This peer-reviewed article has come from our phosphate (p) monitoring work on the Itchen. It highlights the spiky nature of P, which is typically missed in the EA’s current monthly monitoring regime, and the need to better understand the impact these spikes could be having on river ecology. As a next step, S&TC, alongside EA and HIWWT, have joint funded a PhD at Nottingham University, which started in Sept 2019, to investigate the ecological impact of the P spikes."

Nick Measham, S&TC Deputy CEO said:

"We have already taken this science and turned it into action. The work underpinned changes to watercress companies’ discharge permits on the Itchen and contributed to a massive reduction of this pollutant in the river. 

The spiky nature of the discharge implies that the EA’s monthly sampling, combined with permit limits set in terms of annual averages, does not provide the protection our rivers need. Permit reform and the use of monitoring technology is urgently required. The current regime makes no sense.

Much more remains to be done but this is a start."

 

Sewin and their habitats

SEWIN AND THEIR HABITATS

Update 14 March 2020: This event has been postponed. All those who expressed an interest will be contacted once a new date is fixed.

10am - 4pm, Monday, March the 30th, 2020

Salmon and Trout Conservation Cymru warmly invite you to their Annual Seminar for 2020

An opportunity to hear the latest developments aimed at stock recovery

Lantra, Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd, Builth Wells

A light lunch will be provided. Please advise us should you have any specific dietary requirements

RSVP by Monday, March the 16th to wales@salmon-trout.org

Attendance is free but applications from members will receive priority.

Please include your membership number with your application.

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SIWIN A’U CYNEFINOEDD

10yb - 4yp, Dydd Llun, Mawrth y 30ain, 2020

Mae’n bleser gan Gadwraeth yr Eog a’r Brithyll yng Nghymru eich gwahodd i’w Seminar Flynyddol ar gyfer 2020 

Cyfle i glywed y diweddaraf ar gamau i amddiffyn ac adfer eu niferoedd

Lantra, Maes y Sioe Fawr, Llanelwedd, Llanfair ym Muallt

Darperir cinio ysgafn. Rhowch wybod i ni os oes ganddoch unrhyw anghenion bwyd arbennig

RSVP erbyn Dydd Llun, Mawrth y 16eg i wales@salmon-trout.org

Ni chodir tâl mynediad ond rhoddir blaenoriaeth i geisiadau gan aelodau.

Nodwch eich rhif aelodaeth gyda’ch cais am le os gwelwch yn dda.

Snapshot survey of the River Tywi (Towy) 2018

Don Catchment Rivers Trust wins Prix Charles Ritz Award 2019

Salmon & Trout Conservation and The International Fario Club are delighted to announce the Don Catchment Rivers Trust as recipients of the Prix Charles Ritz Award for England and Wales 2019

The Prix Charles Ritz award celebrates and rewards those who champion work to develop and improve rivers. Specifically, the award is granted to initiatives carried out for the preservation of our freshwater environment.

Read More: www.salmon-trout.org/2019/03/31/charles-ritz-2019-england-wales/

Ed Shaw, DCRT Director said:

“Winning the Ritz Grand Prix has come as a big surprise to us. The Don is not a glamorous river, and we were keenly aware when the judges came to visit one damp grey November day that they would have an industrial and urban experience. However, the industry and the towns and cities of South Yorkshire are fundamental to the story of the Don, and what makes the return of salmon to our river all the more compelling, so perhaps that counted in our favour. 

We have a hard-working and dedicated team that has done a huge amount of work with local communities to get them involved with the river and to get people thinking positively about it. The recognition the prize represents means a lot to us; we couldn’t be more delighted.”

Read more about the work of the Don Catchment Rivers Trust: https://dcrt.org.uk

The River Don flows through some of England’s most deprived communities.

Larinier fish passes built on Steelbank and Brightside Weirs.

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Team of Living Heritage of the River Don volunteers after a river clean-up session.

The Dalton Brook, a tributary of the Don, before and after it had been cleaned up by Living Heritage of the River Don volunteers.

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School children at a River Guardians session.

Two salmon found in the Don January 2019. The lefthand salmon was found dead. It had spawned, which usually results in the mortality of salmon. If it has reproduced successfully then its offspring will be the first generation of salmon to have been born in Sheffield for about 200 years.

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QUICK LINKS

Dr Cyril Bennett MBE becomes S&TC’s latest honorary life member

We are proud to award Cyril Bennett an honorary life membership of S&TC for his massive contribution to protecting river ecology in general and to the Riverfly Census and SmartRivers in particular. He has been a fly fisherman for 60 years which has stimulated his keen interest in riverfly identification and aquatic ecology.

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Cyril is a founder member of the Riverfly Partnership; pioneered the Angler’s Monitoring Initiative (AMI) to highlight pollution problems and initiated the River Invertebrate Identification & Monitoring (RIIM) course to exploit species-level analysis. Research work with the John Spedan Lewis Trust on the River Test at Leckford including Riverfly reintroductions after a pollution incident.

He has achieved academic distinction while working full time. He has a PhD with the University of London (Queen Mary College) on the Ecology of Mayflies, is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society (FRES) and has taught ecology at the Open University.

He has also put his lifelong interest in insect macro photography to great effect: he pioneered the development of a pictorial-based App, using his images, to aid species identification. He co-authored ‘A Pictorial Guide to British Ephemeroptera’ (Field Studies Council) and ‘Matching the Hatch’ (Merlin Unwin Books).

He was awarded MBE (for services to Riverfly conservation) in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Reporting with a purpose

S&TC are a national organisation and we use evidence from local case studies to help instigate policy changes that will benefit UK wild fish populations. But, this is just part of the value - we are making all our Riverfly Census findings available so they can be used to inform local management and drive action.

Each individual river report is based on three years of surveying data. Where possible, we have linked up our findings with other existing literature and data. Using the available information we suggest where local fishing and/or conservation groups can focus their management efforts to achieve the best health outcomes for each of the 12 original Census rivers.

Some of our local reports can be found on the slider below. Alternatively, visit the Riverfly Census page and scroll down to the map.

River Invertebrate App – Status Update

We are aware users of our invertebrate identification app have been experiencing access issues.

S&TC apologises for any inconvenience caused.

River Invertebrate App

Issued: 17:00hrs 17th Feb 2020

For anyone experiencing the 'SQL' error message, or any other issues when using the app complete the following steps.

1. Check you definitely have version 2.4.1 running. You can find this in the corner of the white bar where the logos are on the category menu.

2. Delete and reinstall the app. For Android users, deleting straight off the applications menu screen is not enough, make sure you complete the delete through the Google Play app. For Apple users, deleting directly from the home screen is fine.

Issued: 17:00hrs 7th Nov 2019

We are aware users of our invertebrate identification app have been experiencing access issues. S&TC apologises for any inconvenience caused.

Due to a problem out of our control we have had to migrate the app to a new company in order to restore its functionality. Addressing the technical fault is being treated as a top priority and we are working hard to get all existing users up and running as soon as possible.

A further update will be issued as soon as we have more news.

SmartRivers Update – Great Stour

This autumn we took SmartRivers to the beautiful county of Kent.

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Thanks to the generosity of Stour Fishery Association we were able to start working on the Great Stour, an interesting river that begins away from Kent’s chalk downs, yet enjoys the full character of a chalk stream due to significant influxes of groundwater from chalk springs in the river valley. 

We successfully collected our professional ‘benchmark’ samples at five sites. Benchmarking is the first step for any new hub. As well as providing the basis of the training, it also provides a scientifically robust reference point. We will be returning in spring to finish the benchmarking. Some invertebrate species are only found in certain seasons, so sampling in both autumn and spring gives us good coverage.

Once the benchmarks were collected we moved on teaching the SFA volunteers how to perform a 3 minute kick-sweep sample to a near professional standard. This included how to identify the available habitats and divvy up your 3 minutes sampling time accordingly. Varying sizes of bed substrate, plants at the river margins and different types of in-river weed all host their own unique assemblages of invertebrates. For a representative, useful sample it is key to move around and capture all these habitats. The volunteers did a brilliant job getting to grips with the technique.

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For the second part of the day, we said goodbye to the picturesque Godmersham Park and headed to the classroom. Using samples collected from the morning, the volunteers were trained to properly wash their samples using various sieves and begin the challenging process of picking out animals. Invertebrates come in many different forms and most are tiny in size, so this is no small undertaking! Even an expert can spend a whole day simply picking out invertebrates. The beauty of the SmartRivers process is that if you start to go ‘tray blind’ the animals are preserved in alcohol, so you can take as long as you need!

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A huge thank you to our trainers, Richard Osmond and Matt Owen-Farmer and of course to the Stour Fishery Association for enrolling into SmartRivers. We look forward to visiting you again in spring for a lesson in identifying your expected species!

If your club or group is interested in being part of SmartRivers drop me a message at smartrivers@salmon-trout.org

We can only run courses with groups of around 10 volunteers, but if you are struggling to find additional volunteers your local Rivers Trust or Wildlife Trust may be able to help! No previous experience is required, but Riverfly Partnership training is handy to have.

Reporting with a purpose

S&TC is a national organisation and we use evidence from local case studies to help instigate policy changes that will benefit UK wild fish populations. But, this is just part of the value - we are making all our Riverfly Census findings available so they can be used to inform local management and drive action.

Each individual river report is based on three years of surveying data. Where possible, we have linked up our findings with other existing literature and data. Using the available information we suggest where local fishing and/or conservation groups can focus their management efforts to achieve the best health outcomes for each of the 12 original Census rivers.

Some of our local reports can be found on the slider below. Alternatively, visit the Riverfly Census page and scroll down to the map.

Riverfly Partnership News

There are many Riverfly monitoring schemes around, so it can be tricky to understand why so many different schemes are necessary.

As the population continues to expand, and our dependence on the environment increases, it is more important than ever that we keep a close eye on the health of our water ecosystems. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of citizen science schemes available that enable people of all ages and knowledge levels to engage with and monitor the condition of their rivers.

Riverfly monitoring is a brilliant way for volunteers to carry out river health checks.  Freshwater invertebrates spend the majority of their lifecycles as nymphs, where they live underwater, sometimes for years! The abundance and diversity of the invertebrate community present in a river is highly linked with the quality and quantity of the water surrounding them. This relationship allows invertebrates to be used as a diagnostic test. Similar to a blood test, by looking at what’s there and what isn’t, we can derive a wealth of information about their condition.

There are many Riverfly monitoring schemes around, so it can be tricky to understand why so many different schemes are necessary. To address this, together with our colleagues at Riverfly Partnership, we have built a helpful explanation of how SmartRivers, Extended Riverfly and ARMI all fit together. They do provide different types of information for slightly different purposes, but are all hugely important in our fight for healthy waters.

So, whether you choose to volunteer for one scheme, or all of them, please know that your contribution is incredibly valued and from all of us at S&TC and Riverfly Partnership, thank you.

For more information on S&TC’s SmartRivers: www.salmon-trout.org/smart-rivers
For more information on ARMI and Extended Riverfly: www.riverflies.org

Reporting with a purpose

S&TC are a national organisation and we use evidence from local case studies to help instigate policy changes that will benefit UK wild fish populations. But, this is just part of the value - we are making all our Riverfly Census findings available so they can be used to inform local management and drive action.

Each individual river report is based on three years of surveying data. Where possible, we have linked up our findings with other existing literature and data. Using the available information we suggest where local fishing and/or conservation groups can focus their management efforts to achieve the best health outcomes for each of the 12 original Census rivers.

Some of our local reports can be found on the slider below. Alternatively, visit the Riverfly Census page and scroll down to the map.

SAMARCH technical workshop

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SAMARCHLogo

SAMARCH Technical Workshop

On behalf of the SAMARCH project, we invite scientists and fishery managers to attend our technical workshop. REGISTER BY: 30 SEP 2019 https://samarch-telemetry.org/ The event is organised by Salmon & Trout Conservation, GWCT, and Atlantic Salmon Trust.

SAMARCH is a five-year project with a grant of €5.8m from the EU’s France Channel England Interreg Channel programme.

Reporting with a purpose

S&TC is a national organisation and we use evidence from local case studies to help instigate policy changes that will benefit UK wild fish populations. But, this is just part of the value - we are making all our Riverfly Census findings available so they can be used to inform local management and drive action.

Each individual river report is based on three years of surveying data. Where possible, we have linked up our findings with other existing literature and data. Using the available information we suggest where local fishing and/or conservation groups can focus their management efforts to achieve the best health outcomes for each of the 12 original Census rivers.

Some of our local reports can be found on the slider below. Alternatively, visit the Riverfly Census page and scroll down to the map.