Ecosystem Work

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Ongoing Projects
Hampshire Avon Salmon Habitat Improvement Project
Hampshire Avon salmon stocks are at a low ebb, this project has assessed spawning and juvenile habitat quality, produced recommendations for improvements (primarily increased boulder/flint cover for fry & parr) and implemented those improvements. A first phase of monitoring has been completed. This rapid response has been made possible by effective liaison and co-working with Environment Agency and Natural England staff and Riparian Owners.
Location: River Nadder - Hurdcott middle Br, Wilton House sawmill Br, Burcombe u/s Mill House, Barford St Martin d/s road Br.                 
River Wylye - Wilton House sidestream, Wilton House u/s Image Br, South Newton footbridge, Langford Lakes, Wylye Flyfishers cottage beat.
Timing: May/June 2013, Monitoring (electric fishing surveys) 2013, 2014 & onwards. Possible Phase II of project 2014.
Partners: WCSRT, Environment Agency Blandford Office, Riparian Owners & Fishing Clubs.
Budget: Greensand donated by Hurdcott Estate, flints purchased by EA, Implementation EA/WCSRT staff. Total costs (excluding staff time) less than £1,000.

Preliminary findings: River Wylye monitoring survey showed ~ 5 times as many salmon parr in improved area than in control stretch.
Hurdcott monitoring survey showed moderate salmon / trout parr densities where habitat improved and none on control section.

The Future: Our intention is to extend this successful pilot project, hopefully with EA funding, to further survey the Hampshire Avon Catchment salmon spawning sites and develop and implement improvement projects for each one.

River Catchment Invertebrate Fingerprinting study and GIS mapping programme
Proposal for benthic invertebrate community analysis & mapping exercise to pinpoint pollution inputs and habitat degradation on catchments of Rivers Avon, Stour, Test, Itchen & Meon. The objective is to use this mapping to identify and tackle the pollution sources across the catchments. Grant funding was received in Spring 2014.
Partners: WCSRT, Aquascience Ltd
Timing: 2014 -2018         
Outcome: As of September 2014, 35 years of EA invertebrate kick-sampling data for the Hampshire Avon, Test and Itchen catchments have been analysed by Dr. Nick Everall of Aquascience Ltd. The results of this analysis can be found here. T
his historic EA data are comprised of family level information. We are currently collecting fifty new kick-samples across the three catchments which will be analysed at species level this winter, this will make it possible to detect a much wider range of pollutants eg. heavy metals.


Hampshire Avon Burgate Estate
Advice on habitat & fishery improvements
Location: Hampshire Avon Burgate Estate u/s Fordingbridge
Timing: First walkover & offer of help carried out.
Partners: WCSRT, Riparian owner, EA/NE
Budget:  tba
River Dun (Test Catchment) Improvement Project
A complete catchment restoration project on River Dun (joins River Test from west at Kimbridge). R. Dun fails Water Framework Directive criteria. Project includes a suite of potential weir removals, fish passes and easements, habitat and water quality improvement projects.
Location: Kimbridge Estate, Mottisfont Estate, Lockerley Mill, Holbury Mill and intervening fisheries, plus headwater winterbourne sections of Dun catchment.
Timing: Concept plans completed for Kimbridge, Mottisfont spring 2013, detailed planning scheduled for 2013/2014.
Partners: WCSRT, Environment Agency (Romsey Office), Wild Trout Trust, Kimbridge Estate, National Trust (Mottisfont Estate), Riparian Owners and Fishing Clubs, Local communities and farmers.
Budget: Subject to partnership funding agreements, likely to be in excess of £100,000 in total.

Outcomes: Project at Kimbridge being implemented by Kimbridge Estate Winter 2014 and extending into 2015. Mottisfont Estate have modified the weir to ease fish passage. 

River Wylye Longbridge Deverill Habitat Improvement works

Restoration plan to improve in-channel river habitats flood plain connectivity over a long section of river owned by the Longleat Estate.
Location: Downstream of Longbridge Deverill
Timing: Concept plan spring 2016: detailed planning took place 20132/2013 culminating in a planned developed by Black and Veatch which was rejected by the estate. WCSRT are helping design and facilitate the moving forward of this project. Potential implementation Autumn 2015.

Partners: WCSRT, Environment Agency (Blandford Office), Longleat Estate, Natural England.
Budget: Partnership budget under development, likely to be in excess of £50,000.
Lower Hampshire Avon Cormorant Diet Project.
Cormorant numbers have increased markedly in recent decades and widespread concerns have been expressed over potential impacts on fish stocks, including species of conservation concern such as Atlantic salmon and upon fisheries in general. This study includes three sites on the Avon between Salisbury and Christchurch Harbour where cormorants roost and where samples of regurgitated food remains are being collected regularly and identified to produce objective data on cormorant diet.
Location: 2013 - Avon Tyrell Estate.
Timing: Initial feasibility study spring 2013 (starting while salmon smolt run is occurring), due to continue 2014.
Partners: WCSRT, Riparian Owners, Bournemouth University, Environment Agency (Blandford Office).
Budget: Zero in 2013, except for staff time. Likely funding bid 2014.

Preliminary findings: 2013 Monthly pellet samples collected, under analysis by Prof Rob Britton Bournemouth University. As expected, a mix of inshore marine and freshwater fish species: Wrasse, Mullet, Perch, Cyprinids recovered so far.

The Future: We are currently seeking other suitable roost study sites in the upper Avon catchment to extend our knowledge of cormorant predation on wild fish stocks.

Professor Britton and Pete Reading, WCSRT Education Officer, have been conducting a parallel pilot study of Otter diet on the Avon and have found a wide range of fish species being eaten from Bullheads to Barbel. As soon as the results of both these studies are finished they will be made available on the WCSRT website.
Hampshire Avon North End Habitat Improvement Project
Restoration plan to improve in-channel river habitats and SPA bird habitats over long section of river between Ibsley Bridge to the upstream boundary with the Bickton Estate.
Location: North End Farm / Somerley Estate.
Timing: Concept plan spring 2013: detailed planning took place 2013/2014 culminating in a planned developed by Black and Veatch which is currently under consideration by the Somerley Estate and the North End Syndicate. Potential implementation 2015.

Partners: WCSRT, Environment Agency (Blandford Office), North End Fishery Syndicate, Somerley Estate, Natural England.
Budget: Partnership budget under development, likely to be in excess of £100,000.


Hampshire Avon Kings Stream Project
Brief Description: Tree coppicing, pollarding, hinging, fish shelter habitat provision on Hampshire Avon sidestream at Ringwood.
Location: Immediately below A31, adjacent to old Castlemain Railway Line at Ringwood.
Timing: Awaiting implementation.
Partners: WCSRT, Christchurch Angling Club (CAC), Environment Agency (Blandford Office), Barbel Society, Avon Roach Project.
Budget: Less than £500.
Hampshire Avon Ibsley Fish Pass Project  
An all-species natural channel fish pass, designed to allow fish passage both up and downstream around Ibsley weir.
Location: Ibsley Bridge area, Somerley Estate.
Timing: The concept plans which were developed and assessed during 2013/14 were discarded because of inadequate vertical level difference at Ibsley Bridge. However, new plans are being developed collaboratively with Wessex Water and the Somerley Estate to remove a small weir on a side stream which will allow Cyprinid fish passage around Ibsley Weir in the future. 
Partners: WCSRT, Wessex Water, Somerley Estate, Environment Agency (Blandford Office).
Budget: Under development.

River Meon Habitat Improvement Project
Habitat improvements to River Meon
Location: Downstream of Droxford
Timing: 2013/2014.
Partners: WCSRT, Upstream Dry Fly fishing, Riparian Owner.

Outcome: project delivered by WTT.
River Stour at Sturminster & Hinton
Advice on habitat & fishery improvements
Location: River Stour at Sturminster & Hinton
Timing: Walkover planned early 2015
Partners: WCSRT / Sturminster & Hinton Angling Club
Budget: tba
River Wylye Stapleford
Advice on habitat & fishery improvements
Location: Wylye Fly Fishers Stapleford Fishery
Timing: Walkover Dec 16th 2013, Project installation 2015
Partners: WCSRT, Wylye Fly Fishers, Wilton Estate
Budget:  tba  
River Wylye Serrington
Advice on habitat & fishery improvements given to SADAC Dec 12th, further planning in-hand.
Location: Serrington
Timing: Winter2013/2014. Works to be underaken by volunteers, supervised by Dr. Martijn Antheunisse of WWT
Partners: WCSRT, Salisbury & district Angling Club (SADAC), Wessex Chalk Streams Project, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust 
Budget: tba 

Completed Projects
River Dun National Westminster Bank Syndicate water at Lockerley     
Brief description: Advice on weir removal and habitat restoration
Location: Lockerley        
Timing: Report produced, sketch plan & FDC consent obtained. Habitat improvements done  – WTT / WCSRT led project autumn 2013
Partners: WCSRT / WTT / Nat West Syndicate / Mr W McClintock.

Hampshire Avon Severals Fishery Habitat Improvement Project

Brief Description: Habitat improvements for coarse fish species (fry bays, large woody debris, pool/riffle scouring, improved spawning substrates) and for SPA bird habitats and tree planting for EA ‘Keeping Rivers Cool’ Project.
Location: Hampshire Avon immediately downstream of Ringwood to Avon Castle.
Timing: Concept plan May 2013, detailed Plan June 2013 scheduled implementation completed Autumn 2013.
Partners: WCSRT, Environment Agency (Blandford Office), Natural England, Mr D. Goulding, Ringwood Angling Club, Barbel Society, Avon Roach Project.
Budget: Partnership budget around £30,000.
Sediment-Free Salmon Project
Brief description: Salmon are handicapped by poor egg-incubation conditions in our local rivers resulting in high early losses (90-100% dying, as reported by Portsmouth University/Cefas). WCSRT/Trafalgar Fisheries kept eggs free of fine sediment on a daily basis. Outcome: 75-95% surviving to the ‘swim-up fry’ stage showing interception of sediment run-off to our rivers can deliver large dividends.
Location: fertilised eggs were obtained from 3 pairs of salmon (Nadder and lower Avon). Eggs incubated by Trafalgar Fisheries, using trays supplied with a blend of settled river water and groundwater.
Timing: January-May 2011.
Partners: WCSRT, Trafalgar Fisheries, fishing clubs, landowners, keepers and Mudeford netsmen. (Consents from Environment Agency & Natural England).
Budget: c.£700, plus unpaid staff time provided by Trafalgar Fisheries.
River Allen
Brief Description: Liaison with original project partners. Fund-raising. Helping re-work past habitat project to alleviate farmland flooding.
Location: u/s Wimborne Minster
Timing: 2013/2014.
Partners: WCSRT, Environment Agency (Blandford Office), National Trust, Sembcorp Bournemouth Water, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Salmon & Trout Association.
Budget: External funding achieved by WCSRT, Project planned & delivered by EA Blandford. Tree planting plan from WCSRT requested & completed.

When Not to Wade Project

Brief description: WCSRT water temperature loggers were placed within river gravels adjacent to salmon and trout redds at three sites. Dates of fry dispersal from redds were calculated using our logger results and published relationships between temperature and development rates for eggs and alevins. Evidence informed advice on start-dates for wading by anglers. Outcome: minimised risk of fry losses to trampling.
Location: 3 sites (Nadder, Wylye, lower Avon).
Timing: January-May 2011.
Partners: WCSRT, fishing clubs and keepers.
Budget: c.£200
Dorset Stour Coarse Fishery Habitat Improvements
Brief Description: Shelter bay creation for coarse fish fry (dace, roach, bream, chub, barbel, bleak, perch, pike, eel), to aid over-wintering survival.
Location: Initially, downstream of Canford Bridge.
Timing: Concept plan Spring 2013, detailed plan summer 2013, scheduled build Autumn 2013.
Partners: WCSRT, Barbel Society, Environment Agency (Blandford Office), Christchurch Angling Club.
Budget: Likely to be less than £5,000.
Outcome: project terminated because of poor project cost : benefit assessment.

River Test proposed increase in water abstraction at Testwood
Brief description: River Test proposed increased abstraction regime at Testwood by Southern Water Ltd. technical Review.
Partners: WCSRT / T&I.
Timing: 2012     
Outcome: Report completed

River Wylye Ballington Manor
Brief Description: Habitat improvements to River Wylye: under development.
Location: Ballington Manor
Timing: 2013/2014. 
Partners: WCSRT, Ballington Manor Estate, Environment Agency (Blandford Office)
Budget: Project compled by Ballington Estate.

River Wylye Butchers Stream
Brief Description: Habitat improvement to R. Wylye side stream to construct new gravel shallows (riffles), pools, channel sinuosity, better horse drinking facilities.
Location: Wilton, Salisbury.
Timing: Autumn 2015
Partners: WCSRT, Wilton Fishing Club, Wilton Estate, Environment Agency (Blandford Office)
Budget: Under development. Project to be implemented by Wilton Fishing Club.

Hampshire Avon Countess Fishery
Brief Description: Advice on habitat & fishery improvements
Location: Amesbury
Timing: Advice given to SADAC Dec 12th 2013
Partners: WCSRT, Salisbury & district Angling Club (SADAC)
Outcome: Project completed.
River Test Houghton Lodge Estate
Brief Description: Advice sought on river habitat and fishery management.
Location: south of Stockbridge
Timing: winter 2014/spring 2015
Partners: WCSRT, Houghton Lodge Estate.
Budget: tba
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