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Thames - South East Area

Thames SE AMI report 2008 - Tim Jones, Environment Agency

Thames SE AMI report 2008 –PDF-File, 142.1 KB

Albury Anglers

Coordinator  Colin Spicer  05/01/12 Sites      River Tillingbourne (2) Team      6 Activity    Since April 2006, informally since 2005 www.tillingbourneriverfly.org.uk Our interest in finding out more about the River Tillingbourne was originally inspired by Dr Cyril Bennett. We had seen references to his work with mayflies in the angling press and had asked him to give a talk at our local club – Albury Flyfishers. Following on from this and after helpful advice from the Peper Harow Flyfishers Club and Frensham Fly Fishers, a number of us decided to ‘have a go’ at finding out what was in our local river. We bought a net and acquired all the necessary bits and pieces from various sources – my wife still doesn’t know for sure where her oven baster has gone!  Our first monitoring attempt produced for us an astonishing result – we had no idea that our river supported all these different creatures. The freshwater shrimps were truly amazing and after a training course at Leckford we were able to recognise the various groups of invertebrate species. We have now been monitoring at Albury for over 5 years and building up a good picture of the invertebrate life in the Tillingbourne and the seasonal variations. We are now concentrating on one site (Middle Beat) and finding the invertebrate populations appear to be consistently good. In our sample we find all of the target groups - even the occasional stonefly nymph.  Last year we had an unfortunate sewage spill upstream of our site that caused serious loss of fish at a local fish farm. We were able to re-act very quickly and within hours of the incident, monitor our own stretch of river several times. Luckily on this occasion we found no evidence of any change to our expected 'bug life'.

Frensham Fly Fishers

Coordinator  Peter Francis   05/01/12 Sites      River Wey (2) Team      5 Activity   Since 1979 (Cyril Bennett) & 2002 with the Frensham Fly Fishers frenshamflyfishers.org The Anglers Monitoring Initaitive was pioneered on the River Wey by Dr Cyril Bennett and the Frensham Fly Fishers. Cyril has fished the River Wey for 50 years and developed the monitoring following catastrophic declines in riverflies. Two serious pollution events in 2002 and 2004, were first identified by the anglers, linked back to pollution from pesticides entering a sewage treatment works upstream.  The source of the pollution was not identified but subsequent publicity and an ever present eye on the river has ensured that such an event has not reoccured The work on the Wey was instrumental in the development of the national monitoring initiative coordinated by the Riverfly Partnership. Peter Francis leads the monitoring activity with the Frensham Fly Fishers.  The team of five monitor two sites on a monthly basis. The anglers compliment the monthly monitoring with a daily water quality check using gammarus cages.

Gresham Angling Club

Coordinator  Alan Gibberd  05/01/12 Sites      Upper Loddon and Lyde (4) Team      5 Activity    2009 Following attendance at the excellent Training Day at Leckford, five members of the Gresham Angling Society are regularly surveying sites on these rivers that we fish between Old Basing and Sherfield on the Loddon, and Newnham Mill and the Loddon on the Lyde. Three of the sites are on the unstocked, wild trout chalk stream head waters of each river, and two in stocked lowland stretches. Although our interest is largely related to the flies of interest to anglers we have a wider function.  Basingstoke is built on the headwaters of the Loddon and its treated sewage is discharged into the Loddon a mile downstream of Old Basing. Extensive development has already been agreed and SEERA wishes to expand it even further.
There is considerable concern regarding the ability of the river to accept further effluent, although, at present, the Sewage Treatment Works are working within very tight consents. Fortunately with such legislation as the Water Framework Directive and River Basin Bio- Diversity Framework ecological arguments are moving up the planner’s agenda. We will continue to monitor the river above and below the sewage outflow, and should there be problems in the Sewage Works we would be in a strong position to identify it. (The EA carry out surveys at these sites at one or two year intervals). Recently a farmer in the Loddon valley expressed concern that the watercourse through his land might have been polluted by a neighbour’s slurry pit.  By checking the invertebrate score, particularly the gammarus, above and below that farm, we were able to reassure him, ourselves and the EA that no pollution had occurred. Our findings are reported to our Local Ecological Appraisal Officer at the EA to whom we can always turn for help and advice.

Greywell Anglers

Coordinator  Trevor Ashton  05/01/12 Sites      Upper Whitewater (1) For more information contact ami@riverflies.org

Peper Harrow Park Flyfishers Club

Coordinator  John Charlewood  05/01/12 Sites      Middle Wey (3) Team      10 Activity   May 2005 Peperharow Park Flyfishers is a small club (36 members) with fly fishing on 2 lakes and 1 ¼ miles of the Middle Wey between Elstead and Godalming in Surrey. We monitor at 3 sites on the river. We have about 10 trained volunteers with an average of 5 turning out for the monthly monitoring from March through to October. We started monitoring before the AMI was set up when several of us attended courses at the John Spedan Lewis Trust and initially used the BMWP methodology with help from Cyril Bennett. We started Monitoring as a pilot site for the AMI in 2003. Overall results have been at or near target level at all 3 sampling sites. Within those averages there are some encouraging trends and some worrying trends: Oct 09 Olives have been plentiful at all 3 sites (but we always see more in our samples than we see hatching when we fish!). After a disappointing Mayfly hatch we are seeing good numbers of all sizes in the samples at the back end so fingers crossed for next May. We saw stonefly for the first time last year and they now feature regulary in the samples at all 3 sites albeit in small numbers. We have taken Signal Crayfish in the samples at all 3 sites for the first time this year and caddis numbers are down this year - surely related phenomena. Nov 07 The data collected is holding up reasonably well with a very good population of mayfly and numerous caddis at each site. Blue-winged olive remain scarce - older members of the Club say there used to be really good hatches through the summer years ago. Olives are present but in small numbers and we are keen to try to increase numbers with fly boards. Our 3 flyboards,  which were well covered in eggs, were lost in the July floods (2007). We are determined to persevere and will repeat the excercise next season using wire rope as tethers. Sparsholt College electrofished the beat in October (2007) and found 23 wild browns, several in the 1lb bracket, which is encouraging.

Wandle Piscators

Coordinator  William Tall   05/01/12 Sites      River Wandle (11) Team      12 Activity   2007 www.wandlepiscators.net The monitoring initiative expanded in March 2008 with a dedicated workshop training 12 participants. Ten sites on the River Wandle are now monitored on a monthly basis by the Wandle Piscators together with Sutton Council Biodiversity Team. Our monitors wear high viz vests with the group name and identifying them as Riverfly Monitors. We also measure phosphate concentrations and have demonstrated, to the statisfaction of the EA, that the local sewage works dumps too much phosphate into the river (at least 40x the recommended maximum concentrations) We have also started an Ephemera Danica reintroduction programme and will tackle BWO and stoneflies later this year. Only one trigger level breach since the programme started.  This was in 2009 when diesel spilt into the river from a building site. The AMI score dropped to zero following the spill and recovered to pre-spill levels within 3 months.