River restoration, Urban rivers, Wild Trout Trust

Rocking it out in Bruton

When he’s presenting the judges’ verdicts at the Wild Trout Trust Conservation Awards every year, my colleague Paul Gaskell likes to emphasise the odds that are stacked against even the simplest river restoration projects – making it nearly impossible to believe that the spectacular and complicated ones have actually made it through this vicious (and often quite unfair) Darwinian selection process.

Working on urban rivers, of course, means that those odds and complications multiply almost exponentially. This isn’t something I’ve forgotten, exactly, through years of chairing the South East Rivers Trust, but I’ve certainly been insulated from the day-to-day realities by a team of very talented staff…

… all of which means that re-learning the nitty-gritty has been an eye-opening element of my new(ish) role as one of the WTT’s Trout in the Town officers.

In the case of notching a weir and building a couple of fairly simple low-level berms with the brilliant Brue CREW community group in Bruton, the heffalump traps included two separate rounds of paperwork for the Environment Agency, rethinking basic materials due to unexpected geology, and 3 (or was it 4?) diary delays due to high water, disappearing rocks, sudden pallets of breeze blocks, and I’m sure there was something else too.

But we finally got the berms in, and they’re things of beauty, and most of it was bloody good fun.

OK, what’s next?

Update: this project has now been reported in the Mendip Times: click here to read the online version (scroll through to page 6)