Skip to Content

About: Rosie

Recent Posts by Rosie

Trent Rivers Trust completes its largest Capital Work project on the River Mease to date

Collaboration with landowners proves key as the 3-year project draws to a close

Jobs done

  • 40 landowners agreed to river-friendly improvements on their land
  • 7.65km of habitat restored
  • 5ha of in-channel habitat improvements
  • 13ha of wetlands, scrapes, and meadows
  • 11ha of grassland under improved management.
  • 40ha of Maize were under sown as part of a trial in 2020/21
  • 500 trees planted


Watch the full film



The challenge

Like all UK rivers, the Mease and its riverine residents including otters, white-clawed crayfish, and bullheads are under pressure. Poor drainage practice and flood management techniques have reduced habitat, water quality and increased downstream flood risk. Over the years, local farmers have noticed a decline in fish and shared worries about recurring flooding events, while the Environment Agency notes high levels of phosphate pollution and sediment entering the watercourse. Such issues are common within most UK lowland rivers.

Yet, the Mease stands out for a different reason. It is both a Special Area of Conservation and a SSSI, sitting under the highest designation of protection. Despite decades of pollution and habitat modification, the Spined Loach has been bearing witness to the changing riverscape of the Trent catchment for around 450,000 years. The shy Pleistocene Age freshwater fish makes its home in only a few slow-flowing rivers in England. Nowadays, the bottom-living species has only been recorded in five locations. One of them is the Mease.

The project

The Mease’s unique and typical features have meant that our work on the small river has evolved into a flagship project-our biggest Capital Work project to date. The 3-year project has been designed to slash pollution, but more importantly, we have worked to demonstrate that a river faced with complex challenges can recover. When given the chance, through stakeholders thinking big and collaboratively, the river can flourish once again.

As catchment hosts, we have worked closely with key partners including the Environment Agency, Severn Trent, local farmers, and Local Planning Authorities. Most importantly, it has meant working with landowners right from the start. Their commitment has been impressive. Out of 59 engaged landowners, 40 agreed to implement changes on their land. As a result, the Mease saw 7.65km of habitat restored, including 4.1ha of in-channel habitat improvements (close to the size of 6 football pitches), 13.12ha (18 football pitches) of wetlands, scrapes, and meadows, and 11ha (15 football pitches) of grassland under improved management. As part of a trial, 40ha of Maize (40 football fields) were undersown in 2020/21. We improved more than 1km of livestock tracks and installed 750+meters in fencing. This reduces sediment run-off and ensures that no unnecessary sediment enters the river due to livestock damaging the riverbanks. To further stabilise riverbanks, 500 trees have been planted.

Funding from a developers scheme (the ‘Developer Contribution Scheme or ‘DCS’, has also provided an important additional means of delivering projects that mitigate the impact of development further downstream in the catchment. These projects focus particularly on trapping the nutrients that are discharged into the river, as a result of the increase in development.

Our approach

As the river flows through a mostly agricultural landscape, farmers have played a key role in the successful delivery of the project. Local farmer, James Startin, notes that ‘The river is a living thing that is going to change and it’s going to evolve. For us, it needs to evolve whilst we’re still working alongside of it’. Working closely with riverside farming businesses, our approach has been to demonstrate the importance of a healthy river, and to co-create solutions that work within the farmer’s business model. The impact has not gone unnoticed. One landowner commented “Brilliant job, clearly leaving the river in a better condition” after seeing less floodwaters extend towards the property. The extra capacity created in the channel from bank re-profiling reduced the risk of the river bursting its banks. Others have noticed clearer water, hoping for fish they have seen on their doorsteps a few years ago to return.

The impact of our work

As the current programme draws to a close, Trent Rivers Trust is expecting to see a healthier more resilient river. Much like tugging on a single thread can unravel an entangled ball of wool, the implemented schemes have been designed to solve multiple problems for wildlife, river and communities. Re-profiled banks create better habitat conditions for fish and other species while reducing the risk of floods breaking through the channel. Undersown fields can boost profitability as soil is retained whilst reducing nitrogen and phosphate levels in the watercourse. A river that is given the space to meander, deposits more phosphate and flows more slowly. In the event of heavy rainfall events, it allows for better absorption and less water entering the main river, reducing flooding further downstream. An increase in wetland habitat acts in a similar way. It increases biodiversity, water quality and also acts as a flooding buffer.

What the future holds

Looking forward, we will continue to monitor the water quality of the Mease, as we are working to expand the scope of the project. Promisingly, our success of the last 3 years has been recognised with additional funding from the Environment Agency. As a trust, we know that to move the needle on overall river health, changes are needed on a landscape-level. Our ambition is to tackle pollution, habitat modification, and flood risk collaboratively and at scale. To this end, we are excited to begin this new chapter with the continued support of our catchment partners.




               

READ MORE

Oxford Farming Conference Inspire Bursary – Delegates Revealed

We are pleased to announce that our River Mease Project Manager, Emma Smail, has been awarded a place on the Oxford Farming Conference Inspire Programme 2022. The Oxford Farming Conference is one of the leading events in the agriculture and farming calendar. Key policy and decision makers attend and speak at the event providing an opportunity for learning, knowledge exchange, and debate on key issues and legislation affecting the farming sector. The Inspire programme seeks ambitious people in the agri-food sector who are already demonstrating commitment to bringing about change and resilience in the sector through collaboration and leadership. The programme awards the successful candidates a place at the conference, which they will be attending for the first time, as well as a place at an away day ahead of the conference for building skills, connections and contacts in the industry.

Emma’s place in the programme will be a great benefit to TRT, particularly within the Mease catchment, as Emma will have a seat in talks and debates on new policy announcements, innovative progress and opportunities within the industry, new scientific developments and policy ideas. It will also be an opportunity to make contacts from a range of organisations within the industry. Farmer collaboration and engagement is crucial for the success of the work that Trent Rivers Trust delivers. Keeping up to date with farming policy, issues and opportunities within the sector is important in order to build trust and understanding, and find solutions that are mutually beneficial to farm businesses and our rivers.

The theme for the 2022 conference is ‘Routes to Resilience’, looking at how trade, policy, science, research and farmers can shape a more resilient agricultural sector, something extremely relevant to the environmental conservation work at the heart of the Trent Rivers Trust. Several of the key aims of the Trust: river restoration, biodiversity net gain, nutrient neutrality and water quality improvements are all becoming much more engrained in agricultural policy across the UK landscape, particularly under the forthcoming Environmental Land Management Schemes. TRT want to be a key part of that development but think it is essential to balance innovation with practicality, understanding the policy, risks and aims of all parties for multi stakeholder collaboration that benefits everyone and the landscape.

READ MORE

Big Jump Crowd Funding Campaign to remove Rothley Weir

Big Jump Crowd Funding Campaign to remove Rothley Weir

This week the Trent Rivers Trust launched a crowdfunding campaign to remove Rothley Weir and “ecologically reconnect” a 8km stretch of the river, asking for small donations to help restore the Brook to a more natural system and allow Eel, Trout and other fish free passage once more.

Rothley Brook is a tributary of Leicestershire’s River Soar. The 33km river has unfortunately been neglected and heavily modified, which has driven biodiversity loss, habitat destruction and poor water quality. The Trust’s fundraising is part of The Big Jump, the first ever simultaneous international campaign to remove obsolete dams and barriers from European rivers. Led by WWF, one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, Big Jump 2021 is highlighting the poor state of many rivers and how removing old and useless barriers can swiftly benefit people and nature. Rothley Brook is the only UK-based river conservation project to feature in The Big Jump.
As we face a biodiversity emergency, restoring our rivers is an important objective of the Trent Rivers Trust.  Dams have long been a problem for our rivers. They impede the passage of fish to spawning grounds, alter the river bed in a negative way and cause the loss of important habitat through inundation. The Big Jump will combat this. Every pound we can raise will take us closer towards restoring important habitats and natural services that our rivers should be providing for the wildlife that lives there.

The campaign launched this week and donations can be made via the link below

https://crowdfunding.wnf.nl/project/rothley-weir-rothley-brook-leicestershire-uk

READ MORE

TRT Launching the River Eye Catchment Farming Group

The Trent Rivers Trust are launching the River Eye Catchment Farming Group to tackle sediment and phosphorous runoff in the River Eye. This is all thanks to Defra’s Green Recovery Fund #GreenRecoveryChallengeFund and complements our ongoing restoration work in the River Eye SSSI.

We are excited to work with landowners and farmers across the catchment to discuss and implement positive changes for our watercourses.

We also hope the group, as a catchment scale partnership, will be a beneficial networking opportunity, where we can discuss topics such as how #FarmingIsChanging and the new Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS).

The group will partake in free activities such as farm visits & plans, walkovers and local events tailored to farmers’ interests within the Eye catchment. We also hope to fund capital works at a few selected locations.

If you would like to find out more and whether you are in the catchment, please contact Amy on amy@trentriverstrust.org or 07384 632368.

READ MORE

Extinction: Freshwater fish in ‘catastrophic’ decline

What’s being reported?

Reports warn of a “catastrophic” decline in freshwater fish, with nearly a third of species threatened by extinction.

Conservation groups said 80 species of freshwater fish were known to have gone extinct, 16 in the last year alone.

In UK waters, the sturgeon and the burbot have vanished, salmon are disappearing and the European eel remains critically endangered.

“Nature is in freefall and the UK is no exception: wildlife struggles to survive, let alone thrive, in our polluted waters,” said David Tickner, Chief Freshwater Adviser at WWF.

Read the BBC article here

Why do we care?

Freshwater fish are important for a variety of reasons including;

  • Essential for healthy functioning of rivers
  • Conservation value – we have a responsibility to limit our impact on native faunal populations, cathartic and mental wellbeing
  • As a source of food
  • Source of income through angling and pet trade

How are we affecting fish populations?

The main ways that humans are impacting on the freshwater environment are;

  • Impoundments – weirs and dams for hydropower, flow gauging, abstraction, flood risk
  • Pollution – point source (such as sewage outflows) / diffuse pollution (such as agricultural pollution), sedimentation, alterations to water chemistry.

What are TRT doing about it?

At TRT one of our biggest priorities is reconnecting rivers, with both their floodplains and headwaters in order to reinstate natural processes and ensure that fish can access these necessary habitats. In 2013, TRT undertook a large fish passage at Darley Abbey on the River Derwent, modifying the existing impoundment to facilitate the passage of fish. The project opened up ~10 km of previously inaccessible habitat.  We have also removed smaller barriers to fish movement, such as a series of step weirs at Oakthorpe Brook in 2020. In 2021, TRT will be undertaking a number of weir removal projects, reconnecting tributaries of the Soar and Cole with vital headwaters.

 

READ MORE

Weston in Staffordshire River Restoration

A river restoration project has been completed on the Trent at Weston in Staffordshire.

The 2km length of river had very few features in the channel due to historical engineering and drainage works.  Before the restoration scheme, the flow was smooth with little capacity for the river to break down pollution, leaving no areas for fish to take refuge.

 The river banks were steep with very little flood plain connection.

Here at Trent River Trust, we have been working to enhance the river’s natural features and processes by implementing a range of techniques.

Re-profiling the river banks change the river’s flow around the bend to encourage deposition and more habitat variation on the river bed. Gravel was introduced to the channel to create riffles, increasing the oxygen levels and developing new habitats for invertebrates and fish spawning.     A backwater was excavated to create refuge for fish away from the main channel as well as introducing woody debris to help slow the flow and create a wider range of habitats on the river bed.

The increase in riffles, gravel and flow types helps the river break down pollution. The features installed help stimulate a range of natural processes, that will continue to develop over time.  The river now includes a much wider range of natural features such as islands, riffles and gravel bars. In several areas, trees have been planted to provide bank stability habitat and shade over the channel.

WATCH THE WORK BEHIND THE PROJECT:

If you have any enquires please contact: enquires@trentriverstrust.org

READ MORE

Great news for The River Eye and Trent Rivers Trust

We are delighted to announce that the Trent Rivers Trust has received a grant of £124,500 from the government’s #GreenRecoveryChallengeFund. Thank you to Heritage Fund UK for the grant! #TogetherForOurPlanet 

This amazing news means TRT can deliver improvements to the River Eye catchment and allow us to continue our work to restore the SSSI. This project will contribute to connecting people with nature, through working with landowners to identify ways of improving land management across the catchment to reduce pollution and to benefit wildlife.

As well as retaining 2 existing members of staff, this funding has allowed TRT to employ a young newly qualified officer to work with landowner’s part time on the River Eye and other existing projects to build experience and knowledge.

TRT has for a number of years wanted to carry out improvement works to the River Eye SSSI by implementing options identified and developed from the Strategic Restoration Plan. The project aims to improve wider land management by introducing measures to;

  • Reduce silt run-off
  • Manage phosphates
  • Manage flood risks through natural means
  • Increase tree cover

 

The restoration of the SSSI will be a continuation of work started by TRT in 2016. As the river is currently being assessed as being in unfavourable condition, TRT want to restore it by;

  • Increasing channel sinuosity
  • Retain large woody debris
  • Raise bed levels
  • Carry out tree management
  • Implementing new farming methods to manage high sediment and phosphorus run-off

 

These works consist of constructing in channel and bank features to conserve, enhance, restore and rehabilitate geomorphological features along the river to improve the biodiversity and resilience of the SSSI.

The completion of restoration works to the SSSI is a starting point for further restoration across the Eye catchment. Not only does the project aim to engage with 60 farmers, the SSSI restoration work will bring a community together by celebrating the works through social media and website updates. TRT will provide support to engage and raise awareness of river restoration with the Ernest Cook Trusts Estate’s (ECT) programme of events for school aged children.

This project will have a very positive environmental impact, both related directly to the SSSI site and in relation to the promotion and adoption of longer term positive environmental management across the wider River Eye catchment.

Want to learn more? Contact us: enquiries@trentrvierstrust.org

READ MORE

River Mease Restoration works to be delivered this summer

Major capital works taking place to enhance important river habitats

Trent Rivers Trust (TRT), in collaboration with partners of the River Mease Catchment Restoration Project, has been spending the lockdown preparing for a summer season of scheme delivery on the River Mease Special Area of Conservation and Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Eight schemes are due to be delivered across the catchment, from river restoration schemes on the River Mease itself to sediment trapping schemes at the headwaters of tributaries. The delivery is the culmination of a year’s worth of preparation, marking the end of the first year of this three-year project. Works will take place around Measham and Chilcote in North West Leicestershire, Netherseal and Overseal in South Derbyshire and Edingale and Croxall in the Lichfield district.

The project is co-funded by the Environment Agency and the local authority Developer Contribution Scheme to improve the water quality, habitat and biodiversity of the River Mease, which is one of the most highly designated rivers in the country, as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The works will result in 9km of watercourse being restored to more natural conditions, creating better habitat for the designated species; 8km of which is on the main River Mease itself. In addition, the works will also create 7.4ha of terrestrial habitat improvements, including enhancement of the riparian zone, tree planting and wetland creation.

More details about 6 of the schemes can be found in the site notices which are required as part of the consultation to work under the Environment Agency’s permitted development rights. If you have any comments on the proposals you may submit these to the address on the notices before 19th September 2020.

Here is a map of where each of the site notices are located River Restoration Autumn 2020 NEAS

You can read the site notices here… MEA023 Croxall; MEA021 Edingale; MEA009 Chilcote Brook; MEA007-8 Money Hill to Yew Tree; MEA007 Money Hill Farm; MEA002 Birds Hill Measham

Please follow the progress of the project on our twitter page @MeaseRiver

READ MORE

COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS VOLUNTEER DAY ON BOTTLE BROOK, FRIDAY MARCH 13TH 2020

TRT are organising a Community and Business volunteer day at Ripley Greenway near Marehay.

We will be meeting at 10am at the Marehay Miners Welfare Club carpark, 268 Derby Road, Ripley DE5 8JN (ring Julie 07827 667888 if any problems) and aim to finish about 3pm, although you don’t have to spend the whole day – just let us know how much time you can give.

The aim of the day will be to reduce erosion where it’s causing a problem along the brook by using saws or loppers to cut small branches, using them to make bundles and placing them along the brook, working with the Friends of Ripley Greenway.

You will need strong boots/wellies and clothes to keep you warm and dry even if it rains, a drink and a packed lunch. Some hot drinks and biscuits will be provided.

We regret that we can’t provide toilets for this activity—though there are plenty of trees!

These happy people have taken part in previous action days

 

 

Training and equipment will be provided.

Book places or discuss further by emailing Julie: projects@trentriverstrust.org  or you can give her a call on: 07827667888

We look forward to you joining us!!

READ MORE

River-Friendly Businesses honoured as scheme sparks growing environmental network

Local, regional, national and global firms have secured River-Friendly Business status through an initiative which is helping companies work together to tackle water pollution.

Trent Rivers Trust’s River-Friendly Business accreditation scheme is backed by the Environment Agency and Severn Trent and was launched in 2018. It awards businesses based within the Trent catchment Bronze, Silver and Gold status for helping to improve their local water environment. The overriding message is, “Only rain down the drain.”

READ MORE

 

Recent Comments by Rosie

    No comments by Rosie