Environment Agency transform polluted urban river

October 27, 2017 at 10:50 am

My local river, running through a council owned green space, has been taken over by recently formed Braybrooke Community and Nature fishing Club. With full support of the local council, the aim of the club is to encourage angling in the area, especially among the young, holding several fishing events with qualified instructors on their other water Jeanes Pond, which have proved popular with families.

The next step is to hold teach-ins on the river, which has suffered neglect, being subject to dumping of waste, plus more than the occasional shopping trolley. Despite all this, the river holds a good head of roach, rudd, perch and chub, along with individual bream and carp, as my blog has demonstrated over the years. I was approached by the club to help with the siting of ten dedicated swims last year and have been working with the Environment Agency during their construction.

A major oil pollution event on the river early in the year, resulted in the loss of many fish and despite the efforts of Thames Water, regular minor pollution events are continuing without anyone being brought to book. Arriving at the river, new pollution booms had been put in place by Thames Water that morning to counteract the latest problem of surface scum, while they will be stepping up their search for non compliance regarding oil and waste storage at industrial properties upstream.

Funded by the Angling Trust Angling Improvement scheme, EA workers were busy constructing marginal berms below the recently installed fishing platforms along the stretch. The berms will speed up the flow, pushing silt through the system to reveal the gravel beneath, while providing fish holding features in times of flood. When the work is finished, the EA have a Christmas present lined up for the river in the form of a stocking programme from their Calverton Fish Rearing Facility, to boost the natural fish population following the earlier pollution.

EA officer Stuart has been hands on with this project, the above berm being placed below two disabled platforms, which will accessed by a ramp. Further downstream a completed berm gave a good example of the way the river will be transformed from a slow moving flood relief channel to one of character. Two submerged shopping trolleys were incorporated into this berm, which has been back filled with silt trapping branches and mesh.

This is a good example of where fishing license money can be spent. Encouraged by the local council and financed by charity donations, alongside their own money raising efforts, Braybrooke Community Nature and Fishing Club are well on the way to providing a much needed amenity for novice and experienced anglers in the area.