The Aire Rivers Trust current-aims-and-targets

Current aims and targets

The Aire Rivers Trust was formed in 2011 and, at present, is concentrating on improving fish passage, river clean ups, educational projects, water quality issues, improved access and eradication of alien invasive plant species.
Details »

Invasive Species – Law Commission report

11 February 2014, Today the Law Commission published its final report on the control of invasive non-native species. See the Law Commission Wildlife Law project pages

Reference number: LC342

Background

Law Commission wildlife project and the species control report

In July 2011, the Law Commission began a project on wildlife law. Its terms of reference were: to review the law on the protection, management, usage and welfare of wildlife in England and Wales, and to make recommendations for its simplification and modernisation.

Barbel stocking in the Aire…

Fisheries experts will be stocking 6,000 barbel at several locations in Yorkshire this week as part of the Environment Agency’s ongoing plans to develop and restore rivers in the region.

All reared at the Environment Agency’s fish farm, 3,000 barbel will be stocked into the  River Aire at six locations between Kildwick and Thwaites Mill.

These rivers have suffered from poor water quality and habitat loss in the past, but a concerted effort by Yorkshire Water, industry and the Environment Agency has helped turn these watercourses around.

More information here on the EA website.

Project should open up waterways to migrating fish

A NEW fish pass in Leeds will form part of a wider plan to help migratory fish and wildlife swimming back to repopulate waterways.

Yorkshire Water, which owns land forming part of Rodley Nature Reserve and one side of a weir at the site, hopes a new fish pass at the site will help salmon, sea trout and eels to ascend to the River Aire.

Kathryn Turner, Biodiversity Advisor at Yorkshire Water, said they are committed to improving the water and bring back freshwater wildlife. She said: “I had a male otter chattering at me from the undergrowth on the bank and saw dippers and grey wagtails already making it their home.”

Now four more fish passes on the River Aire are at the planning stage with two – Knostrop Weir and Crown Point Weir in Leeds – expected to have new moving weirs built as part of Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, aimed at preventing flooding during extreme weather conditions, at a cost of just over £50 million.

Two further passes, at Ann’s Mills Weir and Burley Mills Weir in Kirkstall, are planned by the Aire Rivers Trust and would be financed with funds obtained by DEFRA.

Kevin Sunderland, Chairman of the Aire Rivers Trust said: “A pass was installed in Castleford Weir in 2007. But further fish passes are necessary at Chapel Haddlesey and Knottingley, downstream of Leeds to improve fish passage.”

The River Aire was full of migrating fish until the Industrial Revolution polluted many rivers – but according to Mr Sunderland they are now back to 1830s conditions.

The work should be completed by March 2015.

From The Yorkshire Post

Becknik 2

The next Becknic is at 2pm on Sunday 13th Oct towards the beginning of the Beck in a rural spot near Thornton.  Eddie has arranged singing and story-telling.  The site is nice and clean so no litter pick needed!  Bring your picnic blanket or folding chair  and of course your picnic.  a flyer is attached – pass on to your friends and family.

Becknic 2

Wet woodland habitat sites around the River Aire and its tributaries.

From today’s Yorkshire Post

RARE wet woodland habitats are to be created at five Yorkshire sites to encourage insects, plants and animals to thrive,

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust received £35,366 from SITA Trust to create and manage uncommon wet woodland habitat sites around the River Aire and its tributaries.

Wet woodland habitat supports a large number of insects, specifically beetles, many of which are rare in the UK.

Plants such as the bright yellow flowering marsh marigold thrive in this habitat and birds including lesser-spotted woodpecker, willow tit and siskin all make their home in it.

Vital cover and breeding areas for mammals such as otters can be provided and numerous bat species are often found in good wet woodland habitat.

The Upper Aire Floodplain project will work across five sites including two in Otterburn, in Craven, one in Steeton Ings near Silsden, one at Marley, near Keighley, and one at Ryeloaf Meadows near Bingley.

Work will include tree 
planting in some areas, which 
are then fenced off to prevent grazing.

Wetland areas will also be created, in particular at Ryeloaf, by the digging of shallow ‘scrapes’ (pools) and channels.

At Marley and Ryeloaf, areas of willow will be restructured using traditional woodland management practices of coppicing (cut back to ground level to stimulate growth) and pollarding (top of branches cut off to stimulate new growth at the top).

The new habitat should also help prevent flooding in the urban areas of the upper Aire valley.

Don Vine, of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “The SITA Trust funding is enabling Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to create more of what is a declining, but incredibly important habitat.

“Wet woodland, which is sometimes referred to as carr woodland, has dried up in many parts of the UK as a result of draining for agriculture and water abstraction drying up rivers.”

Rodley Weir and Fish Pass

Rodley Fish Pass Upstream View

I thought you might be interested to see these photos of Rodley Fish Pass now that it has been officially opened. Yorkshire Water and their consultants ARUP have done a good job on this. YW will be monitoring the efficiency of the pass by electronic tagging of some captured fish. The tags will then be traced and the fish followed through the pass by receiving devices on the posts at the side of the fish pass.

Brown trout are usually seen attempting (and failing) to ascend the Rodley Weir in October / November. If none are seen this year, it will mean that the fish are finding the pass, swimming up through it and bypassing the weir.

UPDATE

NEW ENVIRONMENTAL improvements have been completed to help save wildlife at a popular Leeds nature reserve.

The Rodley Weir bypass on the River Aire, close to Rodley Nature Reserve, has been designed to allow fish to swim around the weir and upstream so they can search for new habitats.

Previously, the weir formed a man-made barrier which prevented fish moving up the river.

Solar powered detectors around the site will also track the fish as they go through the new bypass.

The number of fish living in the River Aire has recently risen thanks to modern water treatment processes and better pollution controls.

The river is now home to a large number of salmon, trout, eels and lampreys.

Dave Nesham, trustee director of Rodley Nature Reserve, said: “We were delighted to work on such an important project.

“Anything that further improves biodiversity in the area can only be a good thing.”

Mr Nesham added: “We’ll be taking accompanied tours down to see the pass, with the hope being that we’ll see plenty of fish using it.”

The work was carried out earlier this year by Yorkshire Water’s partner MMB.

The river bypass work was supported by a grant from the Environment Agency.

Neil Trudgill, from the Environment Agency, said: “The fish bypass at Rodley is an essential step in the recovery of the river’s fish populations.

“The naturalised design will provide a passage around the weir as well as a habitat in which fish and other aquatic life can actually live, feed and grow.”

Chub, chub and yet more chub!

For the fisherpeople in our midst – from the Telegraph & Argus:

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/sport/10525816.Angling_Lines/

KEIGHLEY AC

Last week’s River Aire competition, organised by our club, produced a string of fine performances as anglers tested their skills in low water levels.

Steve North weighed in with 12 chub, two trout and a perch to win the evening match. Although the winning margin was only 1lb, it was enough to earn him top spot and the £25 first prize. Robin Pickles and Mick Metcalfe tied for second place. The Aire continues to fish well, with reports of large numbers of brown trout and grayling being caught on mixed maggot. The club are encouraged by barbel beginning to show in the river, indicating the success of a targeted restocking programme conducted jointly with the Environment Agency over recent years. Canal fishing is also proving popular. One club member netted a 7lb bream near Silsden. Roach and skimmers have also been taken in good numbers by anglers using poles baited with maggot. A five-hour open match will take place on Sunday at Silsden. Competitors are asked to meet at Silsden Bridge at 8.45am. Call match secretary Darren Watson on 07795-243332 for details.

BRADFORD No1 AA

Mirfield’s Paul Clark won the first round of this year’s Calder League with 36lb 6oz of chub on stick float and maggot. Andy Bradley (Gomersal) caught 24lb 14oz of chub and grayling from Cornmill for second, followed by Ultimate Barnsley’s Keith Hobson (21lb 15oz) at Lillands, Gomersal’s Dave Taylor (20lb 4oz) and Ian Fieldhouse (20lb 3oz). Ultimate Barnsley were the winning team on the day. The next round is on Sunday, July 21. Gratrix Dam is fishing well for quality chub and ide on maggot. The River Calder at Lillands and Gravel Pits is worth a visit for chub, grayling and trout. Chellow Dene is fishing well for chub, bream and roach on waggler and bread or maggot. Raskelf will be closed on Saturday for the second junior match of the year. It will also be closed on Sunday for a veterans’ match. Maunby on the River Swale will be closed on Sunday for a members’ match.

LISTERHILLS AA

All nets should be thoroughly dry after each angling session to eliminate the possibility of spreading any fish disease. For Sunday’s match at Pilley’s, the gate will be open at 8.30am for the draw at 8.45am. Work to improve the bankside at this water is ongoing thanks to a small number of members.

BINGLEY AC

We will have a small stand at Bingley show on Saturday, July 20 and members will be on hand to answer any questions about the club. The Wharfe is fishing well for barbel and chub. Coppice is also giving good nets of tench.

Editors Note: (link corrections, adding note and another link)
The full column (and previous weeks columns) can be seen online on the Telegraph and Argus Website It is published with a submissions deadline of Thursday noon, so can appear any time after that, usually before Midnight and appears in the Friday Print editions of the T&A.

Friends of Bradford Beck make progress with work on historic waterway

Bradford Neck

Conservationists says signs are good for Bradford Beck as they continue a campaign to cover up outdated danger warnings that tell people to keep away from the dirty water.

Volunteers with Friends of Bradford Beck are determined to expose the beck with their new ‘This Is Bradford Beck’ signs as a pleasant place to meander and enjoy.

Once deemed the filthiest river in England, they say with a little help from them and funding agencies, it could become attractive and healthy again.

This Sunday, the Friends of Bradford Beck are throwing a ‘Becknic’ party from 2pm to 3pm under The Crag in Valley Road, Shipley, to raise awareness of the waterway as something to celebrate.

People can just go along and join in – all they need to do is bring their own food.

The Friends and partner groups have come up with ambitious plans to clean up and improve the river, allowing wildlife to thrive and making it an asset to the city.

The beck’s water quality has been tested and come out “better than first expected”, said Steve Bland, of The Friends group.

The Friends have also been through the city to identify how and where the cleanliness and attractiveness of the watercourse for people and wildlife could be improved.

To make a start, volunteers have been holding action days clearing the areas of the beck and came up with the signing project.

They have been out and about covering up the old red warning signs dating back to the 1980s, if not earlier.

Mr Bland said: “When I was growing up those signs scared my mum. She always told us to stay away because we could catch something from the water but of course we didn’t stay away and we didn’t get ill from it either.

“The beck has pretty much been forgotten over the years. We want to reveal it again so it can be enjoyed and become an important part of the city again.”

Of the 11km of the beck which flows through the city, the majority is either hidden underground or forced to run through deep artificial culverts.

Many of these date back to the 19th century, when Bradford Beck was so polluted it was deemed the filthiest river in England, despite the city being at the time the country’s richest.

The culverts were built to hide the sight and smells of it. It runs beneath the Alhambra, City Hall, under the Westfield site and out on Canal Road to Shipley. The Friends are looking for funding to put up information boards, direction signs showing the way to the beck and possible marker flagstones or a painted line through the city centre charting its underground flow.

Thanks to the Telegraph and Argus for the publicity.

Aire Fish Passage Schemes (June 2013)

Aire Fish Passage Schemes (as at June 2013)

Some progress in improving fish passage on the Aire has been made over the last few years. The Environment Agency fish passes at Fleet and Lemonroyd were both finally opened in 2004. Castleford fish pass was opened in 2007 and Rodley in 2012. There is a strong possibility that a further five or more will be opened in 2014 / 2015. If these go ahead, the biggest remaining barrier will be at Knottingley. Other major weirs in Leeds and downstream which will still require fish passes are at Chapel Haddlesey, Armley, Kirkstall Abbey and Newlay.

Chapel Haddlesey Weir

The Canal and River Trust is still progressing its hydro / fish pass scheme on the tidal weir at Chapel Haddlesey (near Eggborough Power Station). The scheme, first proposed in 2008, is still in the planning / discussion stage.

Knottingley Weir

Knottingley Weir remains one of the biggest barriers to fish passage on the Aire and Calder river system. The weir does flood out in periods of heavy rainfall and migratory fish do ascend it at those times. Unfortunately, upstream progress can be delayed for a number of months in dry summers.

The Canal and River Trust (CRT) has withdrawn its expressed interest in a hydro on the weir which means that public funding can now be used to obtain a fish pass. Discussions are ongoing between CRT, the Environment Agency and Wakefield Council to explore the possibility of including a fish pass in a wider regeneration scheme within the Knottingley area.

Knostrop and Crown Point Weirs (Leeds)

Leeds Council obtained funding for the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) in early 2013. The FAS envisages removal of the weirs at Knostrop and Crown Point and their replacement with moveable weirs which can be opened when the river is in flood.

Leeds Council expects to commence work on the two fish passes in January 2014 and completion by December 2014. Knostrop Weir has long been the biggest impediment to fish passage on the River Aire and it is believed that fish cannot ascend the present weir. The planned fish pass there will allow migratory fish to progress through the centre of Leeds as far as Armley, if not further.

Armley Mills Weir (Leeds)

Although discussions are continuing between Leeds Council and the Environment Agency regarding a joint fish pass / hydro scheme at Armley, progress has more or less come to a halt.

St Ann’s Mills and Burley Mills Weirs (Kirkstall, Leeds)

The Aire Rivers Trust and Leeds Council have been successful in their bid for Catchment Restoration Funding to improve fish passage at these two weirs. Preliminary work is already in progress and the fish passage work is scheduled to be completed by March 2015.

Rodley Nature Reserve Weir

Yorkshire Water’s fish pass at Rodley Nature Reserve opened in late 2012. Minor alterations and improvements have been carried out since that time and work is now complete although the fish pass has not been officially opened as yet. There will be restricted access to the fish pass but the public will be allowed to visit the fish pass on conducted tours by prior arrangement with Rodley Nature Reserve.

Salts Mill Weir (Bradford)

Bradford Council’s proposed hydro / fish pass is still under consultation. The Council’s proposals can be seen by looking at Hydro Power Scheme – Saltaire on the internet.
Other searches:Hydropower
Documents: Feasibility Report (PDF 15.35 MB, 142 A4 pages).

The Aire Rivers Trust (ART) is neither supporting nor opposing the hydro / fish pass scheme as it believes that the decision should be left to local people. ART has made some constructive comments as regards the design of the proposed fish pass. Whether the hydro goes ahead or not, ART would hope that the Council can find funding for a fish pass on this major barrier to fish passage.

Hirst Mill Weir (Saltaire, Bradford)

During the high river levels in summer 2012, the weir at Hirst Mill became unstable and Bradford Amateur Rowing Club had to carry out emergency repairs. The repairs involved the placement of a large amount of stone in the river below the weir. The Rowing Club is looking at a long term solution which may well consist of a rock ramp fish pass which will also support the structure of the weir.

Systagenix Weir (Gargrave)

With the intention of putting a fish pass on this weir, the Aire Rivers Trust commissioned a feasibility study for a fish pass and received the results of the study in autumn 2012. Since that time the management at Systagenix (formerly known as Johnson & Johnson) has been obliged to cease taking water from the weir goit and the weir is now effectively redundant.

As far as is known, to date no decision has been made as to whether weir removal is an option or how fish passage can be improved for the long term.

BHS and CIWEM meetings

BHS – British Hydrological society
CIWEM – Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management

Upcoming meetings

The British Hydrological Society (BHS) and CIWEM have a joint meeting at Sheffield University on 3 July. (Hydro-Power for Hydrologists.)

Lancaster University are hosting a British Hydrological Society meeting and workshop on 11th/ 12th July 2013 entitled ‘Data-based mechanistic methods for hydrological modelling, forecasting and emulation: research and water sector applications’.

Past meetings, streaming Audio and PowerPoint slides

The 3 BHS meetings held in Leeds (Jan, Feb, Mar 2013) are available online. Streaming Audio with .PPT

I intend to update these as more meetings com up or media from past meetings come available.

Plans for footpath changes at Apperley Bridge

Apperley Bridge

Apperley Bridge footpath change will improve safety and view for walkers

According to The Wharfedale Observer News

A Horsforth councillor has backed plans to change the route of a footpath to make it safer and to improve the view for walkers.

The plans will see an existing footpath close to Woodhouse Grove School in Apperley Bridge amended to make it safer for users by taking its route away from shared vehicle access and instead take it along the river Aire, improving the riverside views for walkers.

It will also add a total of 86 metres to the Leeds Country Way along the banks of the River Aire.

Councillor Dawn Collins said: “I am glad that, working with Bradford Council and Woodhouse Grove School, we are able to make this change.

“The current path begins in an area with shared vehicular access and, as a result, these changes will take walkers away from the threat posed by moving traffic.

“It is also pleasing that there will now be more attractive riverside views for walkers, hopefully making it a more popular route and increasing its usage by local people.

“Of course it will now have improved links to the Leeds Country Way so it will offer walkers in Horsforth better access to that route as well. I would also like to thank Woodhouse Grove School for their co-operation with this project.”

Where does your rod licence money go? Barbel in the Aire…

Barbel, aire, stocking

It is a question which I often hear from anglers when they cough up their hard-earned cash every year to pay for their fishing licence: “What does the Environment Agency do with the money?”

Apart from a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, such as flood defence and pollution issues plus administration costs which receive very little publicity, one of their major projects is at Calverton in Nottinghamshire which is the home of a huge fish farm.

The main species bred there are barbel, chub and roach plus many other species and the resulting fish are used to replenish stocks all over the country.

The latest figures released by the Environment Agency show that over the past year more than 400,000 fish will have been released with our region, the North East, gaining the biggest share with 20 per cent of the haul, which works out at around 83,500 fish. The North West and Midlands both collected 15 per cent (63,000).

The numbers of the various species stocked were chub (91,000), barbel (67,000), roach (56,000), grayling (54,000), rudd (46,000), bream (39,000), tench (37,000) and dace (18,000).

I reported recently that the River Aire below Keighley and several other places down to Thwaites Mill in Leeds had had an influx of barbel in the eight- to-nine inch category and these were thriving for fish from an earlier stocking a few years ago are now in the four-pound class.

From an article in The Yorkshire Evening Post on 27 February 2013