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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


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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.




               

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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.

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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!!

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Streams of Wool – 2019

The River Starts Here! Your brooks are important tributaries of the rivers Amber, Erewash and Trent.

The Trent Rivers Trust is working with businesses, communities and organisations like the Environment Agency and local authorities. Together we are making your brooks cleaner, more enjoyable and better for wildlife.

Streams of Wool is part of ‘The River Starts Here!’

May 18th to June 2nd 2019

Woollen decorations on a water and wildlife theme will adorn the trees along footpaths by the brooks around Alfreton, Ripley, South Normanton, Huthwaite and Westhouses. A fortnight of beauty and fun with brook walks, river-dipping, fishing, butterfly walks, history etc.

Why not come and join us… anyone can: groups and individuals, young and old, businesses and schools. Make decorations, publicise Streams of Wool, put on an activity or display, keep an eye on Streams of Wool along your section of brook in case of vandalism, or just wander along!

Interested? Contact projects@trentriverstrust.org or ring 07827 667888

You can also Find us on facebook

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Lowdham NFM – tree planting

TRT has been involved in planting 1,700 trees as part of a Natural Flood Management (NFM) scheme in Lowdham

TRT’s role in delivering NFM has been recognised again. As part of the Government’s £15m funding for the development of NFM, 34 Community Scale projects were allocated funding to deliver and monitor the effectiveness of NFM with TRT working in the Lowdham catchment.

We are well into the delivery in multiple locations of a range of NFM features including leaky barriers, reconnected floodplain and creation of temporary water storage areas.  As part of the project we offered a volunteer day to the Environment Agency to plant trees which will improve ground infiltration and slow down overland flows of heavy rainwater. The day was covered by East Midlands Today, Radio Four, Radio Nottingham and the local press.

The local press who covered the story were West Bridgford Wire and Nottinghamshire Live 

 

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Flood Relief Scheme for Lowdham

As part of the Defra funded NFM Community projects, The Trent Rivers Trust (TRT) have been asked to introduce Natural Flood Management (NFM) works which will complement the Environment Agency flood relief scheme for Lowdham in Nottinghamshire.

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TRT Autumn Newsletter 2018

The Trent Rivers Trust (TRT) is taking action across the Trent catchment to make our rivers and streams a better place for wildlife to live and for people to enjoy.

Take a look to to find out what we have been up to in our AUTUMN NEWSLETTER

 

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TRT Summer Newsletter 2018

The Trent Rivers Trust (TRT) is taking action across the Trent catchment to make our rivers and streams a better place for wildlife to live and for people to enjoy.

Take a look here to to find out what we have been up to in our Summer newsletter

 

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Wigeon Drive SUDS

Are you interested in Sustainable Urban Drainage? Would you like to see a SUDS scheme under construction? Trent Rivers Trust is organising an event for local people in Measham to look at the construction of a new SuDS site at Wigeon Drive close to the River Mease on Tuesday 15th May starting at 6.30pm. Everyone is welcome. For more details please click on this link.

 

 

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