New salmon and sea trout byelaws:

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Charles Inniss has sent this news to members of the River Torridge Fishery Association. It is great news for angling in North Devon.

NEWSREEL: XMAS 2018.

New salmon and sea trout byelaws:

At long last DEFRA has confirmed the new salmon and sea trout byelaws, which will become law and come into force on 1stJanuary 2019.

As far as the rivers Torridge and Taw are concerned:

  • All salmon netting in the estuary will cease. Currently there are three licensed netsmen and their licences will not be renewed. Following on from the ban on drift netting for bass and mullet in the estuary twelve months ago, this means that all estuary netting (apart from netting for sand eels) has come to an end.

In my wildest dreams I never thought the day would come when I would write the above!!

  • Being classed as rivers “Probably at Risk” there will be voluntary catch and release for salmon with the expectation that release levels are above 90%.

To support the new byelaws and to ensure as many salmon and sea trout are able to spawn successfully, the Torridge Fishery Association encourages anglers to return all migratory fish. In recent years the decline in sea trout numbers has been more pronounced than salmon, so returning sea trout is just as important as releasing salmon.

You can find all the details of the new byelaws on the EA website.

Have a great Xmas. Charles.

Dont forget tio send in those catch returns :- https://www.gov.uk/catch-return

Winter Salmon and Sea Trout News –

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Mid winter and high on the moors salmon and sea trout are cutting redds ensuring the ongoing survival of these enigmatic fish that forge into our rivers each year in a struggle that is every bit as dramatic as the migration of the wildebeest on the Serengeti. This marvel of nature is overlooked by many who pass over swirling waters without a thought for these majestic creatures.

Anglers have a deep fascination for these fish and a passion to preserve stocks for future generations. I joined members of the River Torridge Fishery Association for their annual trapping of salmon for their hatchery located close to a tributary of the Torridge.

Below is a copy of Newsreel by kind permission of Charles Inniss.

The River Torridge Fishery Association – News Reel

President: Lord Clinton

 

Chairman: Paul Ashworth                                                                   Secretary: Charles Inniss

e-mail: charles.inniss@btinternet.com

NEWSREEL: WINTER 2018.

The salmon hatchery:  

            Over the weekend 10/11thNovember we successfully trapped the broodstock: 5 hens and 5 cocks all about 8/10lb and all in excellent condition. On Saturday 8thDecember we were able to strip all five hens in one go despite the gales and heavy rain. We now have just over 30,000 eggs laid out in the trays. All the fish have been successfully returned to the river and this year for the first time there was no sign of disease on any of the fish. So far so good.

(Above) Members of the River Torridge Fishery Association on Hatchery trapping day.

Juvenile Survey:

            The West Country Rivers Trust surveyed 40 sitesduring the late summer and early autumn. The results have not yet been published but apparently several sites on the Okement and Lew were encouraging. The sites on the Upper Torridge again revealed poor densities of salmon fry and parr.

This spring we released some salmon fry from the hatchery into the mill leat by the hatchery. This is a controlled area with no natural salmon production. The juvenile survey in September revealed good densities of salmon fry. The hatchery team was delighted to know its offspring were doing well and surviving in their natural surroundings.

The Annual Dinner and Raffle:

Another superb evening at The Half Moon. Over 50 of us enjoyed an excellent meal followed by the raffle and auction. Once again member support for the annual raffle was tremendous and over £1,500 was raised which will go towards continuing our efforts to improve the fishing on this beautiful river. In particular this money is used to finance the running of the hatchery and the cost of the juvenile survey. Particular thanks to Paul Ashworth, our Chairman, and his wife Geraldine who organised the raffle and the auction. There was the usual wonderful array of prizes.

The Fishing Season:

There are good years and poor years. 2018 will go down as one of the poorer years. Low river levels and high water temperature made fishing difficult. Too many of us, me included, wait for the ideal conditions and do not bother when the conditions are unfavourable. Those who ventured out caught fish having some success with the sea trout using dry fly.

Proposed Measures to reduce salmon exploitation:

            Despite rushing through the consultation process in the autumn of 2017, all has since gone quiet: presumably the proposals are sitting on a desk at DEFRA. Let’s hope a final decision can be made for the 2019 season.

Winter well:

            My very best wishes to you all for a peaceful Xmas and a healthy New Year.

In 2012 River Reads Press published “Torridge Reflections” a fascinating tome by Charles Inniss I am delighted that a fresh print run of 100 copies has been announced wirh copies available from River Reads, Cochybondu books and Charles Inniss. The first edition sold out and is highly sought after by book collectors and lovers of fishing in North Devon.

(Above) South Molton Anglers head to the river to count the redds.

Observation of salmon, sea trout and brown trout spawning is an important part of river monitoring and since the dramatic reduction of Environment Agency staff this job is often undertaken by volunteers. The South Molton Angling Club visit the spawning areas on their waters on the River Bray each winter to assess the numbers of salmon spawning. This years observations have been encouraging with good numbers of salmon, sea trout and brown trout seen before winter spates clouded the waters.

Just a quick update on our redd counting morning from Ed Rands.
“The river was in good shape to see what was going on although most other rivers were high and brown.
We walked a familiar strech of river and saw several salmon and sea trout.
There were also a good number of redds there, of different sizes e.g. brown & sea trout and salmon had been spawning which is very encouraging as we didn’t see much last year.
Hopefully they will hatch in the spring and go on their intrepid journey to keep these precious and vulnerable fish in our rivers.
 We also picked up plastic and other foreign bodies from the river.
So all in all a very enjoyable morning, thanks to those who attended.
Merry Christmas.
Ed Rands shared a number of old photos with me that had been found in the attic of a house during a house move. They are fantastic images that give a fascinating glimpse into the past.The images are from the Fortesque Hotel at Kingsympton and show salmon caught from the River Taw probably from the Junction Pool area. The these spendid catches of salmon were made during the 50/60’s.
In those days of plenty virtually all salmon were killed as stocks were abundant and few feared for the future of the species. Whilst  anglers undoubtedly contributed to dwindling stocks other factors have had a far more dramatic impact. Pollution, Poaching, Global Warming, Disease, Over Exploitation, Farming Practices,Silting of spawning grounds, Obstacles to Migration, Predation and other factors have all played their part. These days anglers are fighting for the survival of these magnificent fish removing barriers to migration, improving habitat, campaigning to remove netting, practicing catch and release and attempting to improve stocks by using hatcherys to improve fry survival.
It is sad to see how stocks have been allowed to decline over the years. We have lost a great deal from our rivers it would be tragic if salmon were to be consigned to the history books like the mighty sturgeon that once migrated up many of our local rivers.

RIVER UPDATE

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After a prolonged drought; the most significant since 1976 there has been some welcome rain though not enough. Local rivers have only risen slightly with each spell of rain and have dropped back quickly. Reports of any salmon and sea trout are scarce with a couple caught on the Lyn last week. If you have any news of fish from the Taw or Torridge please let me know.

I ventured onto a Middle Torridge beat in the middle of last week and found the river extremely low despite it having risen 18″ two days before my visit.

It was good to be back on the river however and I was initially hopeful that a few fish may have moved up with the rise in water. After a couple of hours without seeing a fish move I began to have concerns that the river was devoid of life. As I stepped into the river at the top of the beat I caught a fleeting glimpse of electric blue as a kingfisher flashed past. Following its flight up river I admired the view as evening sunlight broke through illuminating the trees.

I fished my way downriver searching the lies and noting the contours that were exposed by the low river. I would hopefully retain some of this info later in the season when the river is once again running at more healthy level. A savage pull on the line yielded a pleasing brown trout of close to a pound.

Its not been a good season for the salmon angler with no water equaling no fish. A few signs of autumn brought a slightly melancholic atmosphere  to the session as I wondered slowly back to car in the fading light.

Charles Inniss to Give Torridge Talk

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Angling Heritage are delighted to announce that Mr Torridge, Charles Inniss, author of the classic book Torridge Reflections is giving a talk about the River Torridge and its history, his life on the river and thoughts on the future at Torrington Museum (in the middle of Torrington) on Thursday 23rd August at 2.30pm. Entry is FREE, refreshments are provided so make sure that don’t miss this opportunity to meet the man and learn about the River Torridge.

Charles Inniss – A one-river man

Torridge Salmon Season -No Extension

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The Environment Agency have decided not to extend the salmon Fishing season on the River Torridge this year. Over recent seasons anglers have enjoyed an extension to the season from  September 30th to October 14th and this has been a welcome addition with good numbers of salmon landed. The decision will come as a bitter blow to fishery owners and local businesses who receive welcome revenue from visiting anglers. It is to be hoped that dwindling stocks of salmon will recover and that this decision will be of benefit to salmon stocks.

This season has been a very poor fishing season as a result of the prolonged drought conditions that have persisted since May. The start of the season was blighted by snow melt and very high water. In the longer term it is to be hoped that weather conditions results in good fishing once again. Such weather conditions have been experienced before with older generations recalling the drought of 1976 when rivers and local reservoirs ran very low.

A fine salmon caught at Liittle Warham during last years extension.

River Report

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Both the Taw and Torridge are at summer levels with little chance of fresh run salmon moving into the river. Big tides might see the odd fish trickle into the lower reaches. Low water seldom deters sea trout that are likely to move into river and move stealthily up river with night fishing the only likely approach likely to succeed.  I had a couple of hours on the middle Torridge at the weekend and tempted several brown trout on small black and silver flies intended for sea trout. The best trout was a fine wild brown of well over 1lb.

There are plenty of quality wild brown trout throughout our local rivers that can give superb sport using dry fly and nymph tactics. Fishing after dark with surface lures or traditional sea trout flies could bring success with big sea trout. The Welsh rivers are heavily fished after dark and some fine sea trout are caught. I am sure that many more big sea trout would be tempted in North Devon if they were targetted at the right time.

North Devon River Update

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The salmon season got off to a slow start on both the Taw and Torridge as a result of low water temperatures and successive spates that kept the rivers brimful. As the waters have dropped and temperatures have climbed sevral anglers have enjoyed success on both rivers with fish from Lower and Middle beats of both rivers.

 Sugh Smith banked a 6lb salmon from the Weir Marsh and Brightly beats of the Taw. Barry Sutton caught a fine 10lb 8oz salmon on a silver stoats tail and Michael Martin a 9lb salmon on an orange fly of his own design.There have also been salmon caught from the Barnstaple Club water below Newbridge. Reports from Upper Taw beats are scarce but with the prolonged high water levels salmon and sea trout will undoubtedly be present.

On the Torridge Chris Warcup caught a fine brace of salmon estimated at 12lb and 14lb. David Lincoln landed a 10lb salmon from a mid river beat. As the river levels drop on both rivers salmon sport will ease off though lower beats of both rivers will be worth a try.

The lower river levels and higher temperatures will prove more conducive to sea trout fishing with after dark fishing worthwhile. Several sea trout between 2lb and 4lb have been caught by anglers at Little Warham Fishery on the RIver Torridge where day tickets are available. It is surprising how many sea trout can be present in the rivers and a concerted after dark sortie can often unlock the rivers secrets.

The Upper reaches of North Devon rivers and many miles of smaller rivers throughout the area can offer splendid sport with wild brown trout that rise freely to a well presented dry fly. The East Lyn offers stunning fishing in beautiful surrounding for less than a fiver a day. Many streams offer excellent fishing with nothing more required than a polite inquiry seeking permission to fish.

 

Two Torridge salmon

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Duncan Betts caught a fine 9lb salmon from a middle Torridge Beat during the past and Peter Stemp landed a 6lb salmon also from a middle river beat.

The river was at a perfect height and colour at the weekend and I enjoyed my second visit to the river so far this year. Despite the perfect conditions I did not have any success with salmon or sea trout. With green foliage starting to appear all around and bird song filling the air it was a pleasure to be stood waist deep in the river casting the fly across the water hoping for that electrifying pull through the line.

One of the  fascinating aspects of angling is the creatures observed beside the river. Otters, kingfishers, wagtails and dippers are amongst the more common sightings. But sometimes something more unusual catches the eye like this rather creepy looking leech.

A new Salmon season on the way!

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A new salmon season gets underway on Thursday March 1st. Hard to believe that winter is on its way out and in just a few weeks the first swallows and martins will be swooping low over the water. Winter is reluctant to release its grip and ice and snow is lining the river bank and it will be the hardiest of anglers who venture out. With the water temperature very low and river levels dropping the best chance of a salmon will be on the lower beats with a fly fished slow and deep.

Those wishing to celebrate the seasons start can call in for a welcome nibble and raise a glass to the new season at the  traditional  salmon Soiree, beer and nibbles  at The Rising Sun; Umberleigh. Snow permitting of course. My guess is that an assemble of anglers will enjoy a warm fireside chat reflecting on past seasons success and renewed hopes for the coming season.

The fisher constantly is as it were in a wild garden, and this very pleasure to be found in the beauty around him he has made a part of his sport itself. It has a spirit: it is not merely the sport of taking fish.

But in England,since the time of Walton, the first thought of your true fisher is of fresh air, the glowing sunsets, the flowers and trees, the birds, and all the river loving things in furs or feathers.

On sunny mornings in some quiet valley he sees the white breasted ‘dipper’ curtsey to him from some stone ere she plunges in again to search for food upon the shallows. or the kingfisher skimming the water with his gleam of blue, or hovering, a flutter of blue and orange, over some luckless minnow. The swallow, sandmartin, water-wagtail, sandpiper are to be seen at every pool, and not seldom a great grey heron slowly and clumsily rise and flaps off at his approach

Taken from that angling Classic from over a hundred years past – LETTERS to A SALMON  FISHERS SONS – 1910 – BY A. H. CHAYTOR

The above joys of angling remain unchanged that and the hope of life on the line.

River Fly Monitoring

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I recently attended the Torridge and Taw River fly Celebration event at Newton St Petrock where we met up with members of the River Fly Monitoring Team. This hands on scheme has produced a wealth of valuable data that can give a valuable insight into the ecological state of our rivers. I have tried to collate some highlights from the data provided and will update when I receive news of forthcoming training events. For more information please visit;- The River Fly Partnership website :- www.riverflies.org

Email from Izzy Moser to those who attended the event.

Dear all,

Thank you for attending the Riverfly Celebration Event on Wednesday evening this week. It was really excellent to finally put some faces to names and there were a huge number of helpful discussions during the meeting, so thank you for this.

I have tried to list some of the main discussions in the notes below, but if I have missed anything, please do let me know and I will add it to the notes before circulating to the wider network.

Notes from Riverfly Taw/Torridge Event 10/01/2018:

1. There were discussions on incident reporting and what types of incidents should be reported to the Environment Agency Hotline. Volunteers were asked to report incidents with photo’s if they weren’t sure to their local Wildlife Trust or Rivers Trust. The Environment Agency Hotline Number is for incident reporting: 0800 80 70 60.
2. Volunteers requested a list of sites that would be high priority for monitoring so that new volunteers can look to take on these sites.
3. Some volunteers expressed interest in occasionally surveying an additional high priority site instead of their usual site if their usual site is consistently achieving good invertebrate numbers. Thank you for this suggestion Geoff.
4. Discussions were had on the spread of sites and whether some volunteers may want to move their site to avoid being too close to an existing site. Volunteers should discuss any concerns with their Riverfly Co-ordinator.
5. Lots of discussions were had on how to get more volunteers involved in the Riverfly programme and how training only once a year is a limiting factor of the project. Discussions were had on whether more people could get trained to run the Riverfly Training Day. Ben Fitch offered to potentially help with training small groups (5-6 volunteers) if the Teign Training Event becomes fully booked.
Actions:
1. Please could everyone send any contact details of volunteers who may be interested in getting trained as a Riverfly Volunteer to Olivia for the River Taw Olivia@wrt.org or to me for the River Torridge imoser@devonwildlifetrust.org. At the moment we are only aware of a small number of people interested in the training events, so for considering the running of future events, we need to know how many people are interested.

2. If you know someone who is interested in being trained as Riverfly trainer please do let me know and perhaps we might be able to look into getting more people trained, although we can’t guarantee anything.

3. If you have any concerns about your site, or would like to register a new site, please contact your Co-ordinator I.e. Olivia for the Taw Olivia@wrt.org and me for the Torridge.

I have attached the details of the Water Framework Directive status for the River Taw and Torridge classifications. Under the column for ‘status’ it lists whether the catchment is in ‘poor’ or ‘moderate’ status. You can use the filter to also show catchments that are in ‘good’ or ‘high’ status. I have also filtered it so that it shows data from 2013-2016 in the ‘year’ column although you can look at data earlier than this if you want to by changing the filter. This should help you to pinpoint catchments that are higher risk for pollution in the ‘poor’ and ‘moderate’ category. From my knowledge of the River Torridge catchment, I am aware that the following tributaries have water quality issues: Dolton Streams, Iddesleigh Streams, River Mere upper catchment, River Mere lower catchment (already monitored), Whiteleigh Water (already monitored), Pulworthy Brook (already monitored), Dipple Water (already monitored), Bideford Yeo (already monitored) and Waldon (already monitored). Unfortunately I cannot give the same information for the Taw catchment, but hopefully the attached spreadsheet should help pinpoint some of the catchments with issues.

I am away next week so will not respond to any emails, but should be back on the 22nd and can answer any queries then.

Thanks once again for your support. It’s a real privilege to work with people who are passionate about their local rivers.

Best wishes

Izzy

Izzy Moser
Freshwater Pearl Mussel Officer
Northern Devon NIA
Devon Wildlife Trust

There is a need for more volunteers on the Taw system.

Torridge and Taw Riverfly Celebration Event

January 10th 2017 at Owl Barn Studio, Little West Hole, Newton St Petrock, Holsworthy EX22 7LW, from 6:30pm

Riverfly in Devon – Set up of the Torridge and Taw, and the national picture.

Riverfly Environment Agency Update

Torridge and Taw Riverfly Results from 2014 to 2017

North Devon Projects Update including Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project

Izzy Moser,
Devon Wildlife Trust Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project

Ben Fitch,
National Riverfly Co-ordinator

Michael Thomas, Environment Agency

Matt Edworthy, Ex. North Devon Biosphere &

Olivia Cresswell, Westcountry River Trust

Izzy Moser,
Devon Wildlife Trust

(Above) Izzy Moser and Matt Edworthy

River Torridge and Taw

Izzy Moser and Matt Edworthy, December 2017

Riverfly Report

Acknowledgements

Volunteers The huge number of volunteers who put their time towards monitoring river health every year

Thanks to all past, current and in advance,

future volunteers. We can do nothing without you.

A huge thank you to Matt Edworthy who completed his role as the Taw and Torridge Riverfly Co-ordinator in August. Matt has worked since 2014 to set up Riverfly on the Torridge and unfortunately had to pass it on in 2017. In the four years since it started the project has come on leaps and bounds and there are now also active sites on the River Taw.

Riverfly Report 2017

Background

Riverfly in the Torridge catchment was established in 2014, through a partnership with the North Devon Biosphere and Devon Wildlife Trust. It has been running now for 4 years and is one of the larger Riverfly projects in the UK, with 25 active sites in 2017 and over 40 registered sites. Since 2016, Riverfly volunteers have also been trained to monitor parts of the Taw catchment with 11 volunteers trained and 6 active sites.

The programme is almost entirely volunteer led and consists of a combination of anglers, conservationists and local river enthusiasts. It is designed to help detect pollution incidents through the identification of river invertebrates and the abundance of each group. This gives a score for each site which, if falls below the trigger level set for the site by the Environment Agency, proceeds with further action in the form of a second survey by the Catchment Coordinator or involvement of statutory bodies such as the Environment Agency. As well as detecting pollution events, the surveys can also monitor long-term changes in overall river health and act as a deterrent to polluters.

Riverfly National Review – From the Anglers’ Riverfly Monitoring

Initiative (ARMI) Project Manager

Whilst 2017 has been exceptionally busy for the Riverfly Partnership (RP), with a change of host in April and a strategic refocus of Anglers Riverfly Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) deliverables for this year, the ARMI network also has been in full flow. During the year to date, 54 ARMI training workshops have been delivered to 597 ARMI volunteers and £308,250 of in-kind ARMI coordinator and volunteer time has been committed alongside the rod licence funding which RP receives from the Environment Agency.

ARMI volunteers regularly monitor 1955 sites UK wide and continue to detect pollution incidents, reporting vital information to local statutory body contacts. Across the UK, strongly established ARMI hubs and groups are providing the spine to support Riverfly Plus, and other citizen science, initiatives, such as Extended Riverfly (siltation & low flows) and Outfall Safari (developed and first run by the Citizen Crane project in the Crane Valley catchment).

As always, my continued and sincere thanks to every single ARMI volunteer, coordinator, tutor and partner for your ongoing commitment to protecting and conserving our rivers across the United Kingdom. Special thanks to all rod licence paying anglers and the Environment Agency for providing funding support to ARMI in England, to SEPA for providing strategic support to ARMI in Scotland, to RP host the Freshwater Biological Association and to RP Chair, Steve Brooks.

Riverfly Report 2017

New Volunteers trained in 2016 and 2017 (Taw and Torridge)

In May 2016, nine new volunteers were trained at Hatherleigh Community Centre. For the first time, two volunteers who took part were the beginning of Riverfly in the Taw catchment. They purchased their own equipment and at the end of the season, one site was active (Nymet Rowland) and 3 samples were taken. During 2017, a second training event was held at the Fox and Hounds (Eggesford), with 11 volunteers trained including 9 new Taw volunteers as well as 3 new Torridge volunteers. There are now 6 active sites in the Taw catchment.

River Fly Training event Spring 2016

River Torridge

2017 update

The last Riverfly sampling for 2017 was done by the Torridge volunteers in October. Despite the difficulties accessing some stretches due to poor weather towards the end of the season, during the year, 103 samples were collected from 25 active sites. 3 new volunteers were trained up at the start of the season and 4 already registered sites were taken on by new volunteers, including Dymsdale Wood Bridge, Sutcombe Mill and Hatherleigh CC. Since Matt’s departure from the North Devon Biosphere in August, the Torridge Riverfly project has been taken on by Izzy Moser at Devon Wildlife Trust. Izzy can be contacted via email at imoser@devonwildlifetrust.org.

Results

The data, which in some catchments has been collected for 4 years now, really shows either declining or improving river water quality across the Torridge catchment. Overall, the results show that 7 rivers have strongly improved since the start of Riverfly and 3 rivers have clearly declining water quality. Some patterns from tributaries are less clear with variable water quality throughout the survey period.

3 samples on two different tributaries; the Dipple Water and the Pulworthy Brook, failed their trigger level. The trigger level breach on the Pulworthy Brook which was reported in August was given an Environment Agency reference number. The stream has been assessed in previous years and is known to suffer from chronic low flow stress. The river was otherwise reported as healthy by the volunteer and additional surveys were not required.

The trigger level breach which occurred in the Dipple Water has also been investigated by Michael Thomas following previous trigger level breaches and is under investigation from known upstream impacts by Andrew Fuller, the local Environment Officer. Andrew carried out a site check shortly after the trigger level breach and investigations upstream are being carried out. The stream also suffers from low flow stress. For the full data, please see the separate PDF included with this document.

Riverfly Report 2017

River Torridge Results since 2014

Looking at the Riverfly programme as a whole since it began on the Torridge in 2014,

  •   547 samples have been taken
  •   50 sites have been sampled
  •   17 samples have fallen below trigger levels
  •   24 sites are inactive at the end of 2017. A few of these sites have been taken up by newvolunteers, but if anyone wishes to get involved in Riverfly and possibly take up one of these

    sites, please contact Izzy Moser at Devon Wildlife Trust via imoser@devonwildlifetrust.org.

  •   4923 volunteer hours assuming each sample requires 3 hours of time to take and enter intothe database
  •   £98,500 is the calculated financial value of the Riverfly volunteer time (using the HLF “Skilled

River Taw

2017 update

After the Riverfly training event on the 1st April, it was a little slow getting some sites registered and data collected, but by the end of the season, a total of 5 new sites were registered and 17 samples were collected. 5 sites are registered but currently inactive (table 4). Again, with the poor weather towards the end of the season, opportunities for collecting samples were limited. Since Matt’s departure from the North Devon Biosphere in August, the Taw Riverfly project has been taken on by Olivia Cresswell at Westcountry Rivers Trust. Olivia can be contacted via email at olivia@wrt.org.uk.

Results

There are now a total of 6 sites registered in the Taw catchment. Thankfully, none of the surveys delivered in 2017 breached the trigger level set by the Environment Agency, although 4 samples were near the trigger level. Data trends for catchments with more samples collected are starting to show, although additional data is required to show any long term changes in improving or declining water quality. For the full data, please see the separate PDF included with this document.

River Taw Results since 2016

Looking at the Riverfly programme as a whole since it began on the Taw in 2016,

20 samples have been taken
6 sites have been sampled
0 samples have fallen below trigger levels
4 sites are registered but currently inactive at the end of 2017.

Riverfly Schools Update

Riverfly schools ran again in 2017, delivered by Izzy Moser at Devon Wildlife Trust. The event involved 31 children from Bradworthy Class 6 surveying to identify Riverfly invertebrates as a method of detecting river health. A thank you to Bob Shepard who volunteered to help during the day.

Since Riverfly schools started in 2015, a total of 83 children have engaged with the event which is held at Julian’s Farm near Bradworthy. Unfortunately several events had to be postponed due to poor weather conditions.

6

Riverfly Report 2017

Riverfly Events have also been held at Hatherleigh Primary School and at the annual Hatherleigh Fair, delivered by Elizabeth Durrant (River Lew Riverfly Volunteer).

Professor Sir John Lawton Visit

In 2016 Professor Sir John Lawton, former head of the Natural Environment Research Council and President of the Institution of Environmental Sciences, visited the River Torridge Nature Improvement Area. As part of that he travelled to a Riverfly site, closely monitored by Gordon Murray during an invertebrate survey, to discuss the importance of Riverfly monitoring in the Torridge catchment. It was Sir Lawton’s Report entitled ‘Making Space for Nature’ which led to the development of Nature Improvement Areas, of which the Torridge catchment was one of 12 in England.

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Riverfly Report 2017

Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project Update 2017

This summer, the project achieved an exciting milestone. Thanks to our expert advisors from Ireland, we were able to confirm live juveniles mussels for the first time in over 50 years. The juvenile mussels which had previously encysted on brown trout dropped off at our captive rearing facility in North Devon. This enabled us to collect and return them to the River Torridge in specially selected locations. The captive breeding programme is currently in its second year, and during October 2017, the project was able to confirm a second year of successful glochidia (larvae) attachment on host fish.

This programme of work is part of the national ‘Restoring Freshwater Mussel Rivers in England’ funded by Biffa Award and co-ordinated by the Freshwater Biological Association. It is the first to trial this short- term breeding method in England.

Along with the captive breeding programme, the project delivers an array of measures to improve local water quality including tree planting, riverbank erosion management, tree coppicing, watercourse fencing, forestry track improvements, farm yard improvements, farm advice and workshops.