Trent Rivers Trust is protecting the local recovering salmon population by planting over 2,000 trees on the banks of the River Dove, near Uttoxeter. The native trees will climate-proof the river habitat, reducing erosion and slow the flow of water before it reached the Trent north of Burton.
Trent Rivers Trust has been funded by the Heritage Lottery-funded, Transforming the Trent Valley Way scheme and the Environment Agency.
Experts have been painting a stark picture for the future of wild salmon. According to the Missing Salmon Alliance, salmon stocks have plummeted by 80% in 25 years and researchers predict that wild salmon will become extinct in many areas of the world over the next 30 years if the current trend continues.
Together with partners, Trent Rivers Trust is taking action to reverse the trend locally and create conditions for salmon, which spend up to three years in the river before travelling to sea, can thrive in amidst increasing pressure. As the River Dove has seen salmon return after hundreds of years of absence, the project aims to restore a lost, but increasingly vital connection between fish and riverside trees.
The River Dove used to meander through a tree-lined river bank, the trees were removed many years ago increasing erosion significantly. It will be good to see some trees replanted to provide sanctuary for the fish from predation, improve habitat and reduce erosion.
Andy Strickland, Secretary, Prince Albert Angling Society
We’re thrilled to be working on this length of the Dove which is in urgent need of some enhancement. The landscape is devoid of any established vegetation close to the river. Trees will provide vital cover for species, as well as, helping to stabilise the riverbank and adding woody material to the river over the longer term. Woody material in the river causes changes to the flow, creating riffles, pools and slack areas of water, vital places important for the success of the early life stages for many different fish species, including salmon.
Ruth Needham, Senior Catchment Manager at Trent Rivers Trust
Shade offers a lifeline for salmon
In the Dove, trees and hedgerows including Alder, English Oak, Aspen, Field Maple, Downy Birch, Hazel and Hawthorn, add biodiversity to a heavily grazed landscape. Adding 0.4ha of woodland, and 150m of hedgerow over a 3.5km stretch of river works reap some of the benefits between trees and water.
Record-hitting temperatures can push heat-sensitive species, including young salmon, to the limit. In 2022, England recorded its joint hottest summer on record with outside temperatures exceeding 40 °C. Short-term, Salmon parr can survive in water temperatures of up to 29.5°C. Over a prolonged period, this limit drops to 28°C. To secure a future in a warming climate, pockets of cool, shaded river can make a difference to the endangered Atlantic salmon and other iconic species on the popular angling river, such as Barbel, Trout and Grayling.
Research shows that riparian shade on watercourses can lower river temperatures in small rivers by 2–4°C, compared to unshaded streams. Though, some demonstration sites revealed that shaded sites can be over 6°C cooler on hot days.
Vanessa Sumpmann – Communications Officer
Partners and funding
With thanks to the Transforming the Trent Valley scheme
A revitalised and treasured landscape of wildlife-rich waterways and wetlands is being made possible thanks to the ‘Transforming the Trent Valley’ scheme successfully securing a large grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund in December 2018 to deliver a multimillion-pound scheme in the Trent Valley across 200km in Staffordshire and Derbyshire. This area covers the Trent Valley from Rugeley, through Alrewas to Derby, The Tame Valley from just north of Tamworth to its confluence with the Trent at Croxall, and Dove River Valley between Derby and Uttoxeter. Transforming the Trent Valley is a partnership project of 18 organisations working together to restore and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the Trent Valley, with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust at the helm. More details can be found at www.thetrentvalley.org.uk
& the Environment Agency