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Catchment Partnership Administration Officer

The Trent Rivers Trust

is looking for a

Catchment Partnership Administration Officer

Catchment partnerships bring together partners to help improve our precious, important water environments, working with communities and enabling wildlife to thrive.  We are the host to three catchment partnerships and support work in another four within the Trent catchment. This role is key in the Trust improving how it manages the different partnerships, providing administrative support including liaison with partners, reporting, communication and organisation of meetings and events.

Applicants will be well organised, have strong administration and communication skills and ideally be experienced in working with partnerships, with knowledge of the natural environment a bonus.

Home based in the UK and permanent with flexibility on working pattern

Starting salary £11,995 for 0.6 FTE (£19,992 FTE)

For more information about the role please view the full Job Description HERE

Applicants wishing to apply for the post must complete the application form HERE and forward this to rosie@trentriverstrust.org before the closing date

Closing date for applications: midday, Monday 4th July 2022

CVs and other forms of application will not be accepted

No agency applications, please

If you have any questions about the role, please contact rosie@trentriverstrust.org

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RECRUITING: Tittesworth Catchment Officer

The Trent Rivers Trust

is looking for a

Tittesworth Catchment Officer

We have expanded our Tittesworth Catchment Officer role which provides the single ‘go to’ contact for land owners in the Tittesworth and nearby area, working closely with colleagues at Severn Trent Water, to discuss issues relating to water quality, land management or grant funding for capital works. An emphasis in these catchments is on the risk posed from pesticides and cryptosporidium, with the officer reacting to pollution incidents and conducting regular water sampling.

Applicants will have a minimum of 2 years’ experience providing environmental advice to farmers, ideally have professional qualifications about advising farmers, be excellent communicators with an understanding of upland farming systems and be able to work in the Tittesworth and surrounding area.

Home Based – Four day per week role.

Starting salary £23,176 depending on experience

You can view the full job description HERE

Applicants wishing to apply for the post must complete the application form HERE and forward this to rosie@trentriverstrust.org before the closing date

Closing date for applications: midday on Friday 22nd July 2022 

Interview Date: (TBC)

CVs and other forms of application will not be accepted.

No agency applications, please.

If you have any questions about the role, please contact rosie@trentriverstrust.org

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WWF partnership and funding from Botanica by Air Wick to invigorate bloom and buzz in the Soar catchment

 

Steve Morgan / WWF-UK

Working together to help restore UK wildflower habitats 

Butterflies, bees, and wildflowers to receive a second wind of life as communities in the Soar catchment including Leicester, Harborough, and Rutland benefit from a new partnership between WWF, Botanica by Air Wick and the Trent Rivers Trust. Alongside Norfolk Rivers Trust and the Wye and Usk Rivers Trust, the project will restore a total of 20 million square feet of habitat across the UK.  

The initiative comes at a crucial time, over the last 90 years 97% of wild meadows have been lost. To reverse the trend locally, Trent Rivers Trust has been awarded a grant of £250,000 to restore 271 ha of depleted habitat into a wildflower haven. As part of the partnership, we will create brand new sites for wildflowers from other land uses, as well as enhance the conservation and management of existing meadows and other wildflower habitats. 

The shared aim is to make a genuine difference in local nature restoration. The project focuses on landscapes that have seen the most drastic of changes over the last decades and centuries and will help to address the decline in wildflowers and associated insect populations. The Soar catchment falls under ‘heavily modified habitat’ and has, therefore, been identified as a priority for wild meadow restoration. In the catchment, historic and current land use and water management practices are causing pollution and a loss of wetland habitat, both in urban and rural areas.  

© Steve Morgan / WWF-UK

Wildflower meadows provide a boost for depleted insect populations including wild bees and the increasingly rare habitat introduces vital ecosystem services that benefit local communities long-term.  Such benefits include an improvement of soil and water quality, a natural increase in flood resilience, and carbon sequestration. Urban wildflower meadows offer opportunities for nature connection. Known to create tangible benefits to mental health and well-being, part of the project aims to provide educational resources and the opportunity to help restore nature within local communities.                                                             

Creating new sites and enhancing existing ones comes with essential stages of planning and engagement. We need to inspire private and public landowners to work with us, and make sure we are choosing the best sites that will be supported and protected – and providing as much benefit to nature and local communities as possible – far into the future. This stage is crucial to ensuring the longevity of our projects’ impact and legacy.  

At Trent Rivers Trust, this means following our tried-and-tested partnership approach by setting shared priorities and addressing issues in collaboration with our network of local partners.  A flagship element of the project includes work on the Halstead Farm in Leicestershire. Located in the headwaters of the catchment, the shift from traditional farming practice toward 2.4 ha of pollinator-friendly habitat creates vital improvements to habitat and downstream water quality.  

Image credit both photos

Steve Morgan / WWF-UK

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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


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.




               

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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.

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Collaboration makes Mease better for fish, otters and people

Our new water quality project on the River Mease which will slash levels of dangerous pollutants has already created valuable wetland habitats for loach, bullhead, crayfish and even otters.

Four acres of formerly scrub-covered farmland have been transformed by the wetland sediment trapping scheme, a kilometre from Measham, Leicestershire, to help address the high levels of phosphates in the Mease.

The river, which encompasses a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation, has suffered because of the build-up of pollutants from many sources and from urban development. High levels of phosphates cause algae to bloom and reduce the levels of oxygen in the water, creating an environment where fish and other species can no longer survive.

But new ponds, wetland channels and riffles which make up a wetland sediment trap are already making a noticeable difference to the water quality and reducing phosphates.

Woodland and vegetation, including nine glorious old oaks, willow trees and hawthorns have also been protected and can thrive once more because of the works on the site.

Aerial view of the site

Aerial view of the site

The £200,000 project, funded through a planning levy paid by developers, was only feasible because of “unprecedented” collaboration and co-operation.

We worked with farmers whose land borders the River Mease and the Gilwiskaw Brook, and building products manufacturer Forterra.

The sediment trapping scheme, where the Gilwiskaw Brook joins the River Mease, has created valuable new wetland habitat for nesting birds and invertebrates. Beyond phosphate entrapment it will reduce the severity of any future flooding downstream.

Major groundworks on the site started in the middle of July and were completed at the start of September. Emma Smail, our River Mease Project Manager, has been finalising the details for the work over the past 18 months.

“It was an unusual one for the contractors because they normally work with trapezoid channels and straight lines,” said Emma. “We showed them that wonky is good, and they got the measure of doing curves rather than sharp angles really well. We can already see how much algae has developed in some of the channels in just a few days.”

The algae shows just how high the levels of phosphate coming from upstream are, according to TRT’s Ruth Needham:

“It’s bad, because it confirms the poor water quality coming onto site. But it’s good in that what we’re doing is helping to trap the phosphate as we planned. And when the levels come up and the whole site is inundated with water, which it’s designed to be, and then the phosphate drops out in the sediment, it will catch a lot of phosphate, which is what it’s all about.”

Phosphate levels will be monitored independently by TH Environmental, a specialist in on- site river pollution sampling. A baseline report, based on samples before the project began, showed how the excessive phosphorus levels “are affecting the River Mease ecology and contributing to the failure of the river’s WFD (Water Framework Directive) target.”

TH Environmental has developed a bespoke sampling plan to enable Trent Rivers Trust to assess the performance of the scheme, which is designed to reduce phosphorus levels in the River Mease and the Gilwiskaw Brook. “The bespoke sampling plan is designed to gather evidence to quantify the phosphorous load prevented from entering the river catchment,” said TH Environmental director, Tim Harris.

Funding via Developer Contribution Scheme

Funding for the project is through a “Developer Contribution Scheme” (DCS) administered by North West Leicestershire District Council and delivered for the council by The Trent Rivers Trust. The DCS seeks to mitigate the negative impacts of any developments which contribute wastewater to sewage treatment works which discharge into the catchment of the River Mease Special Area of Conservation. The DCS has been operational since 2012 and supports the River Mease Water Quality Management Plan.

Councillor Keith Merrie, Portfolio Holder for Planning at North West Leicestershire District Council, said: “As the planning authority, we have a balancing act to play. People need homes and jobs, so it’s important that development goes ahead, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of our natural environment; particularly special sites like the River Mease. It’s important that developers contribute to schemes like this to mitigate for the impact of housing and other developments. It’s good to get to this stage and see the sediment trapping already working – we look forward to seeing it make a real difference downstream.”

Strategic location to boost river water quality

The site, where two significant watercourses meet, is particularly well-located, according to Ruth Needham: “it’s downstream of significant pollution sources towards Ashby de-la-Zouch but high enough within the catchment to improve the quality of fifteen kilometres of the Mease.”

“It’s been an intense window of work,” adds Needham, “and it’s involved extensive collaboration and co-operation.

“We are working with all the partners in the Mease to restore the river back to favourable condition to get the species of interest returning, functioning and thriving. Poor water quality has been a key barrier to that. We’ve got a lot of nutrients getting into the watercourse from a whole range of different sources. Plus the habitat has been damaged in the past for decades.

“So, we are working with several different organisations to reverse some of that damage. We became aware of this site because of our other works in the catchment and we saw an opportunity to create a major silt trap, to trap water in the flood plain, trap the pollution, which will reduce the phosphate downstream. It’s great for the species of interest: fish, invertebrates and plants. But it’s great for the landowner too, as it was difficult to farm and too easily flooded.”

The farmer who owns the land reported that it was always an awkward area to manage, access was difficult and it often gets flooded. The farmer suggested there could be a better use for it, other than trying to continually farm it. A wetland is a good option.

Can we fill three swimming pools? No – but we can thank Forterra

It was crucial, according to Needham, to find somewhere nearby which could take all the surplus materials created by carving out the wetland sediment trap and reducing the level of the site – all while minimising any disturbance to the SSSI and SAC. Fortunately for TRT, brick-maker Forterra offered to receive all 7,500 cubic metres of material from the site – enough to fill three Olympic swimming pools – and the material will be used in the future as part of their clay quarry’s progressive wetland restoration.

“One of the issues in delivering the project was to drop the level so the site floods better, meaning we had a load of material that needed to move to a receptor site,” added Needham. “Because we’ve been walking the river for years, looking for invasive species, we talk with many farmers and other businesses. So we got to know Forterra, whose Measham plant is one of the most efficient and sustainable brick manufacturing facilities in the United Kingdom and has an adjacent quarrying excavation perfect for this project.

left to right: Ian Loftus, Forterra, Robert Burbidge, Forterra, Ruth Needham, Trent Rivers Trust

Left to right: Ian Loftus, Forterra, Robert Burbidge, Forterra, Ruth Needham, Trent Rivers Trust

“So it was instrumental to the success of this project that Forterra could take the significant amount of material. Despite the funding from the DCS, we quite simply would not have been able to afford to complete the project without Forterra’s agreement to receive the material in their quarry.”

It’s been a positive working relationship according to Ian Loftus, Forterra’s Measham Plant Manager. “We’ve always worked together to iron out any problems and figure out solutions. I’ve enjoyed that.”

Colleague Robert Burbidge agrees. “Compared to the scale of our quarry excavations, these materials are very minor. We were happy to be able to offer our quarry to the rivers project and use the materials in our own site restoration in years to come.”

Forterra often works with conservation and environmental charities, according to Loftus: “Yes, we dig big holes, but we always have an end plan that once we’ve finished quarrying they tend to be returned at least in part to nature. This project has been a great example, working with the Trent Rivers Trust to come up with what they think is best for a particular area.”

GPS technology ensured accuracy

The next stage of the project is to plant wet wildflower meadow seeds and plug plants, Smail commented. “Our contractor EDR used excavators and earthmovers equipped with GPS technology in their cabs. Without this the job would have been more complicated, longer, more difficult and needed more people.”

Aaron Turner, EDR’s commercial director

Aaron Turner, EDR’s commercial director (second from left)

Aaron Turner, EDR’s commercial director, says the GPS technology “talks to satellites in the sky, and gives us levels and contour details. So when we are cutting in riffles and new river channels, we can do it with great accuracy and do it first time rather than having an engineer come out and tell the driver where more needs to be cut off or put on.”

This sort of accuracy makes it easier to cut channels which work for wildlife, says TRT’s Ruth Needham: “There are lots of shallows, gently sloping banks and softer-shaped channels – a real improvement for biodiversity. There are wet, dry and semi-dry areas for the invertebrates. There are spaces for the fish to spawn and for wildlife to take refuge when the site floods.

“It’s already transformed the site and will make a positive impact on the river for years to come. And with fish spawning season starting in October, we’re delighted to have completed these major works on time and without disruptions or inconveniences to the landowners or Forterra, who have been absolutely instrumental in making it work.”

Photos: Unsworth Sugden, EDR, Jamie Veitch. Used with permission. More photos:

River Mease and Gilwiskaw Brook Wetland Project

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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

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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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A drier path for people and water for wildlife on Ripley Greenway – our work continues

What an exciting day 22nd April was. We planted the mini-wetland, which we started back in 2019, and added to this wildlife habitat by creating a hibernaculum.  This little wetland provides habitat for aquatic plants and animals passing along the brook and the newly created hibernaculum provides homes for insects and amphibians, such as newts and frogs.

7 young people from Derbyshire Adult Community Education Services (DACES) had a fun day helping us create this new home for wildlife.

On 7th May, we hope to hold a Covid-compliant volunteer day to seed and plant the swales, with volunteers from the general public, Rethink Derbyshire and The Friends of Ripley Greenway.

And finally, in the near future, we will be installing permanent interpretation signs on the Greenway to explain about the benefit of this work and where this fits with our wider The River Starts Here! project.

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Trees on the Trent – new milestone reached

This season we have planted 5000 trees as part of our Trees on the Trent Project.

The trees have been planted along the River Trent and one of its tributaries to increase bankside habitat whilst shading the river.

With the threat that future climate changes poses to the temperatures of our rivers, trees offer an important temperature regulation service amongst other benefits.

Want to find out more about how trees are helping in the fight against climate change?

Click here -> https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/how-trees-fight-climate-change/

But…we’re not done yet! So watch this space for news on next year’s planting.

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