Confluence 12: Spring 2011


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Confluence is the bi-annual newsletter of the Westcountry Rivers Trust. Confluence is packed with all of the latest news on the work of the Trust and what is happening in river restoration and conservation across the Westcountry.

The Spring 2011 edition focused on all of the major projects that the Trust had underway at that time.

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Confluence 12: Spring 2011

  1. 1.    
  2. 2.      CONTENTS  DIRECTORS COMMENTS 3 TRUST NEWS 4 PROJECT FOCUS: THE AARC PROJECT 8 PROJECT FOCUS: COUNTRY SPORTS 10 PROJECT FOCUS: WATER PROJECT 12 PROJECT FOCUS: DEFRA PROJECTS 14 PROJECT FOCUS: UPSTREAMTHINKING 16 FUNDRAISING NEWS 18 WRT ONLINE 19 THANKSTO SUPPORTERS 19 Cover Photo: A winter dawn on the Exe Estuary (Nick Paling) Editor: Nick Paling Contributors: Dylan Bright, Laurence Couldrick, Bruce Stockley, Adrian Dowding, Toby Russell, Hazel Kendall, Nick Paling, Viv Daly Andrew Pym and Simon Steer. © Copyright: Westcountry Rivers Trust, 2011. The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Westcountry Rivers Trust or the trustees thereof and responsibility cannot be accepted for opinions herein. Whilst advertising is welcomed, such advertising and/or logos do not constitute Westcountry Rivers Trust endorsements of the products, services or companies involved. The Westcountry Rivers Trust is a registered charitable limited  company (Charity No: 1135007, Company No: 06545646). Printed by A frosty morning on the river 
  3. 3.     COMMENT  A New Era Dawns in Conservation 3 For those involved in the conservation movement in the UK, the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 was one of even greater significance than we could have predicted. However, rather than as a year of celebrating and promoting our native biodiversity in the UK, many will remember 2010 as the year we appear to have failed to meet the fundamental objectives of the Rio Convention on Biodiversity (1992) and the UK Biodiversity Action Plan; namely to ‘significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010’. Furthermore, 2010 will also be remembered as the year in which we realised that we are going to fall well short of the EU’s Water Framework Directive target of securing all of our lakes and rivers in ‘good ecological status’ by 2015 (we are actually more likely to achieve 40%). In 2011, with the calls for a change of approach to the conservation of our natural environment growing ever louder it seems that it has, in fact, taken a shift in our economic and political landscape to precipitate the change that many felt was needed. With the country’s economy in upheaval and the new government resolved to see in a new age of austerity and localism, it is now clear that the present levels of conservation funding and management delivered by national government bodies is not to be maintained. Against this backdrop of economic cuts and the devolution of responsibility for conservation, the new UK Government have now outlined their vision for the future funding and delivery of nature conservation in a draft White Paper on the Natural Environment. Due to be published in the Spring of 2011, it is likely to be a challenging and comprehensive document that sets out a new vision for the delivery of environmental conservation, but it may also leave a lot of questions unanswered and many contentious issues unresolved. What the UK Government’s white paper on the natural environment will acknowledge is that, while our traditional ‘hold what we have’ approach to nature conservation may have averted an ecological catastrophe in the UK, we do now need to adopt a more proactive, whole‐landscape approach if we are to successfully conserve our natural heritage into the future. This realisation, coupled with our new economic and political climate, means that, no matter what happens, the planning, delivery and funding of conservation in the UK will, from 2011 onwards, begin to undergo significant change. With such great changes afoot, we believe that the Westcountry Rivers Trust is now well positioned to lead the way in meeting the environmental challenges we all face. While many seek to define ‘Big Society’, we are comfortable in the knowledge that we have been the living embodiment of ‘Big Society’ for the last 15 years. The Trust believes the most powerful tool in our  conservation armoury is the active, informed and local partnership between those that manage the land and those that benefit from its good management. There is a place for regulating damaging land management practices, ‘polluter pays’, but we feel that there is much more scope to reward good practice using funding from the direct beneficiaries in a very simple, cost effective, local transaction. This ‘provider is paid’ model is a more positive one in which all parties learn to revise their views on the value of the natural environment and the services it provides. At present, there are a number of ‘ecosystem services’, which we derive from our land: food production, recreation, wildlife conservation, drinking water, flood/drought alleviation etc. Of these, food production dominates, being the only service with a well‐established market for the product, while the others tend to be delivered in a more haphazard way without proper spatial planning and without sufficient funding. Predictably, the outcome of this system is a significant imbalance in the delivery of ecosystem services towards those driven by market forces and this jeopardises the provision of the other essential services for society as a whole. The challenge faced by organisations like the Westcountry Rivers Trust, who wish to re‐ balance this equation to deliver all the environmental services required by society, is that to be successful, we will have to completely re‐balance the way that existing market forces and regulation control land‐use. This is very easily said, but as you might imagine, quite complicated….. As regular readers know, however, the Trust is a ‘doing’ organization and it is our practice to try and light a candle rather than just stand and curse the darkness. Accordingly, we have set about undertaking this re‐balancing act in earnest. The Trust has recently embarked on two ground‐breaking, high‐profile projects that are being closely scrutinised by the environmental community at the highest level, nationally and internationally: the EU funded Wetted Land: the Assessment, Techniques & Economics of Restoration (WATER) Project (see p12)and the South West Water‐ funded Upstream Thinking Project (see p16). It is not yet clear whether the Government’s 2011 white paper will achieve the step‐change in our approach to nature conservation that many are calling for. All we can hope is that when we reflect on the events of last year, during those that lie ahead, we will see that, perhaps more than any year since 1981, 2011 has marked the transition from the prevailing paradigm of top‐down species and habitat driven policy into a new conservation era. This shift in the balance of conservation approaches will (we hope) ultimately see the dominant protectionist conservation philosophies integrated into a more balanced, whole‐ecosystem and landscape‐level approach that will reap far greater successes in the conservation of our natural environments, while also ensuring the food security of the country in a changing world. Dr Dylan Bright  Trust Director Read my full article on the Trust's vision for the future of conservation at‐vision.pdf
  4. 4.     TRUST NEWS  Spring in our step after long winter IT  HAS  BEEN  A  LONG  AND  HARD  WINTER  ACROSS  THE  WESTCOUNTRY,  BUT  SURELY THERE HAS NEVER BEEN SUCH A STRONG SENSE THAT THIS SPRING WILL  HERALD A YEAR OF UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS ON THE WESTCOUNTRY’S RIVERS.   The winter of 2010‐11 has been hard at times, but it has also seen the Westcountry Rivers Trust engaging in several new initiatives and forging ever stronger ties with other organisations around the UK, Europe and the World. At home in the Westcountry, the Trust are now well established as key partners in the Upstream Thinking Partnership along with South West Water, Devon Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) and the Exmoor Mires Project. We have also been working hard to improve our working relationships with the Environment Agency and Natural England; the main government bodies responsible for environmental protection, making sure that we are well placed to contribute to the Government's ‘Big Society’ initiative in 2011 and beyond. Further afield, we continue to work in partnership with environmental and conservation organisations from all over Europe and, in February, we were delighted to host a two‐day meeting with a twenty‐strong delegation representing a wide array of river management, environmental and conservation bodies from China (see left).   WRT staff member wins  third ART Award  The Association of Rivers Trusts Autumn  Seminar on ‘adaptive land use for flood  alleviation’ was hosted by Eden Rivers  Trust in October 2010 at The Tufton Arms  Hotel on the banks of the River Eden in  Appleby, Cumbria.  As well as the very interesting discussion  about the seminar’s main subject,  Westcountry Rivers Trust’s very own  Laurence Couldrick also scooped the  Trust’s 3rd ART award for his excellent  contribution to science and innovation.  4 Spring is in full swing  Dylan Bright addresses Chinese delegation  Laurence receives his award 
  5. 5.     TRUST NEWS  Bats boost business forTamar Consulting AFTER A WINTER OF UNPRECEDENTED ACTIVITY, TAMAR CONSULTING, THE FINANCIAL TRADING ARM OF THE WESTCOUNTRY  RIVERS TRUST, IS LOOKING FORWARD TO ANOTHER VERY PRODUCTIVE AND BUSY YEAR IN 2011.   Tamar Consulting is a team of highly experienced ecologists with a unique blend of survey and research expertise combined with a thorough understanding of environmental issues. The consultancy is wholly owned by the Westcountry Rivers Trust and contributes its profits annually to the Trust, making it a very worthy choice for conscientious companies requiring environmental services. Despite the tough economic climate, Tamar Consulting is thriving and, in December, became one of just six approved suppliers of ecological surveys to South West Water. Furthermore, earlier in the year, the team also won a new contract to provide baseline surveys and impact assessments for a series of solar parks across the south west region. Unlike previous years, the steady stream of phase one habitat and bat surveys also showed no sign of abating during the winter (despite the weather) and the team’s ability to deliver this work was greatly enhanced in 2010 with the award of a full bat licence to staff member Dee Medlicott. In addition to habitat and bat surveys, Tamar Consulting also undertook a series of marine ecological impact assessments across the South West in 2010 and began to offer fish surveys; an initial foray in this area that they are looking to build upon in 2011. For more information about Tamar Consulting please contact or visit  New Forum for hatcheries To promote the sharing of best working practices and to foster strong working partnerships between conservation hatcheries across the UK we have established an online forum. The Hatchery Forum is focused on regulation, recording and reporting protocols, broodstock management, fish treatment, stripping and egg handling, rearing on and stocking criteria, and hatchery design. On the 4th January 2011 the Forum members met for the second time. All of the hatcheries were able to report successful brood stock collection and all felt that there were great prospects for a new fish rearing year ahead. For more information about any of the forum's member hatcheries visit the Forum website ( or email us on  Bumper year ahead at  Endsleigh Hatchery  Endsleigh Hatchery, which is managed by  the Westcountry Rivers Trust, released  forty‐thousand salmon fry into the River  Tamar in 2010 and it looks likely that this  number will be increased to nearly a  hundred‐thousand in 2011.   For more information contact Bruce  Stockley at the Trust on 01579 372140 or  email  5
  6. 6.     The Westcountry Rivers Trust, in collaboration with River Taw riparian owners and the Environment Agency, have secured funding in excess of £400,000 to undertake the replacement of Head Weir on the River Mole, one of the main tributaries of Devon’s River Taw. The project was designed to replace the old weir and fish pass with a state‐of‐the‐art pool and riffle system that will be the first of its kind in Britain. With the funding in place, the Westcountry Rivers Trust commissioned the South West Environment Agency’s Operations Delivery Team to undertake the work and, in spring 2010, work began to remove the old weir. The old Head Weir (inset) was a 2m high Weir today, gone tomorrow AFTER SIX MONTHS OF COMPLEX AND SOMETIMES ARDUOUS WORK, DECEMBER 2010 SAW THE OPENING OF THE NEW HEAD  WEIR ‐ A SPECTACULAR AND INNOVATIVE STRUCTURE THAT WILL TRANSFORM THE ECOLOGY OF THE RIVER MOLE.  Over recent years the Trust have conducted an extensive series of habitat surveys on the river above the weir and will be undertaking future monitoring to see if the weir’s removal has been of benefit to fish populations found there. For more information on the Head Weir project please contact smooth‐faced concrete shute that, despite having a fish pass on it, was regarded by many as an almost complete barrier to fish migration up the River Mole to the large spawning and nursery areas that are known to exist in its headwaters. The new pool and riffle system, which is now complete, is a 60 metre‐long run of embedded tombstone‐shaped boulders set at 5m intervals to create a stepped‐pool system with a 1 in 30 gradient (below). The structure will create a diverse array of flow and channel characteristics that will open the river up to fish migration in high and low flow conditions and yet still serve to divert some of the flow into the mill leat of the historic Head Mill (the original reason for there being a weir on the site). 6 TRUST NEWS  The new Head Weir being built 
  7. 7.     Great prospects for new season with the Angling Passport WITH MORE FANTASTIC FISHING BEATS IN THE WESTCOUNTRY ANGLING PASSPORT THAN EVER BEFORE, THE WESTCOUNTRY  RIVERS TRUST IS LOOKING FORWARD TO ANOTHER GREAT FISHING SEASON IN 2011.   7 TRUST NEWS  Unlike in previous years, the opening day of the trout fishing season was ushered in by a series of beautiful sunny days this year and what better way could there be to start what we hope will be our best season yet..! Originally launched as part of the Trust’s Angling 2000 Project, it has now been two years since the Westcountry Angling Passport was re‐launched in its current form and it must now be one of the best ways to access the fantastic fishing opportunities the Westcountry has to offer. One highlight in the 2011 Passport is the inclusion for the second year of the Duchy of Cornwall beats on Dartmoor, which provide some of the best salmon, sea trout and brown trout fishing in the UK. The Duchy of Cornwall beats include several miles of the River Dart’s most wild and unspoilt reaches, which can all be explored for as little as £10 (4 Tokens) a day. In addition to the Passport, which now contains around 40 great fishing beats across the Westcountry, the WRT Booking Office also offers you easy access to another six day‐ticket beats on prime sections of rivers such as the Tamar, Okement, Lyd, Walkham, Avon and Yealm. The Westcountry Rivers Trust retains its passionate belief that our rivers are a wonderful natural resource that should be protected and managed for the benefit of everyone. By working with angling associations, wildlife groups and farmers to improve the river corridor, while at the same time helping land‐owners and river owners market their fishing, we believe that we have developed a fisheries management scheme that both improves our rivers health and gives people an affordable and enjoyable way to enjoy them. So, if you want to spend a day fishing on one of these beautiful rivers, don’t delay, visit the Westcountry Angling Passport website ( and see how easy it is to get started.
  8. 8.     FISHERIES SURVEYS ARE A WALKOVER..!  AARC PROJECT MANAGER BRUCE STOCKLEY HAS BEEN WORKING TO PERFECT THE TRUST’S METHODS FOR  FISHERIES WALKOVER SURVEYS AND NOW HE IS HOPING TO TRAIN VOLUNTEERS TO COMPLETE THEM FOR  THE WHOLE OF THE RIVER FOWEY  PROJECT FOCUS  The Fowey River Association (FRA) and the Westcountry Rivers Trust’s Atlantic Aquatic Resource Conservation (AARC) project have now started the 2010 Fowey Walkover Survey initiative in January 2011. Our joint goal is to map all the different habitats along the whole of the Fowey. Why do it?  The first step in good management of all our activities on the River Fowey is to find out what is there. Of course many locals know their stretch of the river like the back ‐of‐their‐hand, but by walking the entire river together we can find out what areas most need our help, and have the maps and evidence to show us how we can best focus our efforts to help the river. How do we do the walkovers?  The first step is for volunteers to undertake a days training on the Fowey with Westcountry Rivers Trust. This training shows volunteers how to identify different habitats and how to record them on the provided maps. Then the FRA organises the volunteers and finds out what areas of the river they would like to survey. Once permissions to access the land are granted then the volunteers go out in pairs and mark the habitats out on the blank maps they have been provided with. Using GIS to map the data  GIS stands for Geographical Information System, and is a database that works a bit like a map. Once the volunteers have completed their maps, they are sent to the Westcountry Rivers Trust, where they are scanned and entered into their GIS computers back at their office. Amazingly high quality maps can then be made from this database, but that is just the start. Any changes on the river can be detected by future surveys. For example, the ability of different tributaries of the river to support Salmon from eggs to smolts can be calculated. Using this data, compelling arguments can be made for why river restoration should be carried out – a great resource to secure future funding for the river! How do you get involved in the surveys?  If you live near the River Fowey and love this great Westcountry river, whether you are an angler or not, you can help to do these surveys. A river survey is a great way to enjoy the river, and as it is always carried out in pairs, a very sociable way to spend the afternoon. Walkover Survey training days began in March, and the river walkover surveys will begin in earnest over Easter 2011. Contact us and get involved  To find out how you can get involved in this survey work, and to make a significant contribution to the restoration of one of the Westcountry’s great rivers, please get in touch with the Westcountry Rivers Trust project manager Bruce Stockley on 01579 372140 or at 8 Prime habitat on the River Okement  Image: Simon Steer  Learning how to do a walkover survey on the River Barle 
  9. 9.     AARC PROJECT  AARC Project Launch On Thursday, 2 September 2010 the Westcountry Rivers Trust launched the €3.8 million ‘Atlantic Aquatic Resource Conservation’ (AARC) project at Reed Hall, Exeter. Partners travelled from France, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, to celebrate the start of the three‐year project, conceived and led by WRT, bringing together a diverse range of organisations from across the rugged Atlantic coast of Europe to improve our rivers. The launch was an evening of great entertainment, talks from four excellent guest speakers and a great deal of discussion. “What I like most about this project is the use of DNA fingerprinting on migrating fish like Sea  Trout. This kind of approach has the potential to make a real difference to the long‐term  conservation of these iconic fish.” Professor Ken Whelan, Director , Atlantic Salmon Trust AARC Launch Speakers (L‐R: Ken Whelan, Ian  Johnson, Dylan Bright, Ted Potter) 
  10. 10.     COUNTRY SPORTS HAVE A BIG PULL  PROJECT FOCUS  “The new website will be the gateway for South West country sports, where visitors will be able to rese to the region. We have already received lots of positive media interest in the website, as it’s the first of great news and very encouraging...If you currently own a fishing business that you feel is well matche     industry then we are keen to hear from you. Businesses will receive a full page detailed listin         for 12 months, so it’s a win‐win situation. We can also offer free web page adverts                       don’t currently have a website of their own.”  THE  NEW  EUROPEAN‐FUNDED  COUNTRY  SPORTS  PROJECT  HAS  BEEN  DESIGNED  TO  ENSURE  THAT  THE  SOUTH WEST REGION, WHICH IS RENOWNED FOR ITS UNIQUE LANDSCAPE AND COUNTRYSIDE, BECOMES THE  PREMIER TOURISM DESTINATION FOR COUNTRY SPORTS AND SUPPLIERS OF LOCAL GAME.  The Country Sports South West tourism project has brought the Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT) and the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) together to work in partnership for the first time. Funded initially for three years the project aims to ensure that the South West region, which is renowned for its unique landscape and countryside, becomes the premier tourism destination for country sports and celebrated for its game produce. The project also aims to improve the visitor experience and participation in country sports while creating sustainable rural tourism businesses, which can respond to the future challenges and exploit new opportunities. The project is now well underway, but there is still plenty of time for rural fishing businesses to make contact with the development team to find out how this project could add value to their business. Pretty much any business within the rural sector (new or existing) across the SW region can get involved in the project and take‐up the marketing opportunities we offer to add value to their own marketing and products. If a business is considering developments into the country sports area, we can provide advice on setting up a shoot, angling, or any other countryside activity such as guiding services, deer stalking, equine/hunting, wildfowling and photographic opportunities etc. In addition, one of our tourism experts can advise on business The anticipation of small stream trout fishing  Image: Andrew Pym 
  11. 11.     COUNTRY SPORTS PROJECT  arch, plan and book their break   ts kind for the region, which is    to the needs of the tourism   g on the website   f businesses   development and help businesses to ensure that their product matches the expectations of the country sports visitor. We will also be developing a database of suppliers, processors and food services that incorporate game and fish into their business and offer a supplier‐matching service for those wishing to develop into these areas. Other services include access to specialist training, networking, case studies of best practice and visits to demonstration sites. We will also give assistance to help farms accurately assess and justify diversification into the country sports areas. A consumer marketing and PR programme will launch in Spring 2011 and will focus on the various country sports and activities available around the South West. This will also include attendance at key farming and consumer shows and arranging consumer taster days. In addition, a website aimed at first time and existing country sport visitors will launch in spring 2011 ( South West rural fishing businesses who are interested in what the project may offer them are invited to make contact with Toby Russell (email:; phone: o1579 372140), the Country Sports Development Officer (Angling) at the Westcountry Rivers Trust who will able to give them expert advice about the country sports tourism industry, receive specific business development advice and find out more about the various marketing opportunities associated with the project. The Country Sports South West Project is part of the Rural  Development Programme for England Project (RDPE), which is      jointly funded by the EU and DEFRA, and is a partnership         between the British Association for Shooting and      Conservation (BASC) and the Westcountry Rivers Trust. 
  12. 12.     WATER PROJECT  WETTED LAND: THE ASSESSMENT, TECHNIQUES   ECONOMICS OF RESTORATION  THE WATER PROJECT WILL DEVELOP A MARKET BASED CATCHMENT RESTORATION SCHEME WHICH WILL BE  BASED ON A PAYMENTS FOR ECOSYSTEM SERVICES (PES) MODEL AND AIMS TO IDENTIFY BOTH DELIVERY AND  FUNDING MECHANISMS TO LEVER PRIVATE INVESTMENT FOR CATCHMENT RESTORATION   Across the South West region the river systems are dominated by the underlying granite‐based geology and any rain that falls over the land makes it’s way to our issues and streams predominantly over the surface, as run off, or through the surface soils. This means that the condition of the land surface generally dictates the quality and quantity of water flowing in our rivers. During past Trust projects we have targeted our work on river catchments using Environment Agency monitoring data and local advice. While this has helped us focus our efforts on specific catchments, it has not allowed us to target specific sub‐catchments and certainly not to pick out smaller high‐risk areas. Through the WATER project, which is funded by the Interreg IVA England (Channel) France fund, the Trust has been using and developing a series of mapping tools created by the University of Durham to assess fine sediment risk. By bringing together detailed data on the elevation of each 5m by 5m block within a catchment, as well as rainfall data and land cover data (showing features such as arable, pasture, woodland, etc) we can start to establish potential problem areas by running a model called SCIMAP. When we run the model over catchments such as the Upper Exe we can start to identify areas where the likelihood of soil eroding is high (i.e. steep long bare slopes with high rainfall) and likelihood of the eroded soil reaching the river is high (i.e. steep slopes next to the river). These areas that have high erosion risk and high connectivity risk are highlighted red on the SCIMAP sediment risk map (shown right) and are therefore identified as requiring further investigation as to the cause and possible solutions. 12 PROJECT FOCUS 
  13. 13.     In order to use SCIMAP in other Trust projects, such as the Upstream Thinking Project (funded by South West Water), we are also developing this model further to create a mapping tool that will generate a series of mapped outputs, including the standard SCIMAP outputs of erosion risk and connectivity, but also a new wetted areas map. From these maps we can then develop a third map which shows us two important types of areas within our river catchments; 1 – Areas where erosion can enter the river that are set away from the river and so can be buffered by a wetland 2 – Areas where erosion can enter the river that are immediately adjacent to the river and so cannot be buffered by a wetland With these two areas we can then do two things; firstly we can overlay this map with the agricultural land classification map so we get an idea of the impact on food security by altering land management on these areas; and secondly by working with farmers we can establish the condition of these areas and use payments from sources such as carbon offsetting funds, to abandon type 1 areas, or South West Water funds, to switch to extensive systems in type 2 areas. The Trust hopes that, by developing tools such as these which aid (but importantly do not dictate) our targeting, we can improve the use of funding, improve farmer profits and improve the river catchment making it a more sustainable and equitable ecosystem. WATER Project Conference 2011, St Malo On the 9th and 10th of December 2010, Fauna and Sustainable Development (FSD) and the Hunting Federation of Ille et Vilaine (FDC35), two of the partners in the European Fund for Regional Development‐funded WATER Project, hosted the 2011 WATER Project Conference at the Congress Centre of the Palais du Grand Large in St Malo, France. Speakers from France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Belgium were all invited to report on the achievements of their projects to develop the social, economic and environmental value of wetted lands. Political decision makers from the European Commission and the French government were also invited to the Conference to present their vision for a sustainable European regional development policy. On the second day of the conference delegates were invited to visit FDC35’s Boulienne Farm and tour the Châteauneuf marshlands; a spectacular wetland created as part of the WATER Project. 13 The Châteauneuf marshlands, Brittany, France   English delegates enjoy the wetland tour  The old town of St Malo, Brittany 
  14. 14.     PROJECT FOCUS  14 TAMAR TO HOST AVON DTC  The Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) project is a joint DEFRA, Environment Agency (EA) and Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) initiative working in three river catchments: the River Avon in Hampshire , the River Wensum in Norfolk and the River Eden in Cumbria. The principal aim of the project is to show that it is possible to reduce the impact of agricultural diffuse water pollution on ecological function in a cost‐effective way, while maintaining sustainable food production, through the implementation of multiple on‐farm mitigation measures. The DTC project aims to achieve this goal by detecting any shifts in the levels of the most ecologically‐significant pollutants resulting from targeted on‐farm measures at field to farm scales and assessing their effects on ecosystem function. In 2010, the Avon DTC group recognised that the work being done by the West‐ WESTCOUNTRY  RIVERS  TRUST  HAVE  TEAMED‐UP  WITH  THE  HAMP‐ SHIRE AVON DEMONSTRATION TEST CATCHMENT CONSORTIUM IN AN  ATTEMPT TO DEMONSTRATE THAT CHANGING LAND MANAGEMENT AND  FARMING PRACTICES CAN IMPROVE WATER QUALITY IN OUR RIVERS.   country Rivers Trust through the Upstream Thinking initiative, funded by South West Water, represented a significant opportunity for them to perform their studies on a river system where there are not only huge problems due to agricultural pollution, but where there are also significant funds available to undertake large‐scale and comprehensive mitigation works to reduce it. In light of the clearly complementary work that both groups were about to embark upon, the Avon DTC group (lead by Professor Adrian Collins from ADAS) and the Westcountry Rivers Trust have teamed‐ up to undertake a ground‐breaking whole‐ catchment study to demonstrate the link between improved land management and farming practices, and improvements in raw water quality in our rivers. The study, which will be undertaken on Caudworthy Water, is due to begin in spring 2011. For more information contact or phone the Trust on (01579) 372140.
  15. 15.     STRATEGIC EVIDENCE PARTNERSHIP  THE STRATEGIC EVIDENCE PARTNERSHIP PROJECT IS A PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVE BETWEEN DEFRA AND THE AS‐ SOCIATION OF RIVERS TRUSTS IN CLOSE COLLABORATION WITH COLLEAGUES FROM THE STATUTORY AGENCIES,  THE WATER INDUSTRY AND THREE OF THE RIVERS TRUSTS.   The overarching objective of the SEP  project is to assess the ability of current  policy instruments (specifically legislation  and agri‐environment incentive payments)  to deliver Water Framework Directive  (WFD) water quality targets and whether  private sector funding has a future role to  play in complementing publicly funded  incentive payments.  The project will focus on three study  areas; the Tamar, Severn and Wye  catchments. In each area, a series of   meetings will be held with the relevant  interest groups to discuss the nature and  extent of water quality problems and to  debate how measures might best be  targeted to mitigate these problems.   Following this process, in‐depth research  interviews will be conducted to determine  whether the current suite of public sector‐ managed cross‐compliance regulations and  agri‐environment schemes can deliver the  necessary targeted measures. A sample of  respondents will be selected from the   farming community, the Environment  Agency, Natural England and all other  relevant organisations. In particular,  interviews will also be held with  representatives from local water companies  to assess how water company managed  catchment management schemes might be  dovetailed in the future with public sector  schemes to provide a complementary  offering.   To find out more please contact the Trust at  15 The grey wagtail is a riparian specialist dependant on river insects  Image: Luc Viatour 
  16. 16.     PROJECT FOCUS  CLEANER WATER STARTS UPSTREAM   SOUTH WEST WATER, IN COLLABORATION WITH A GROUP OF REGIONAL CONSERVATION CHARITIES, HAVE  INITIATED  ONE  OF  THE  LARGEST  AND  MOST  INNOVATIVE  CONSERVATION  PROJECTS  IN  THE  UK:  THE  ‘UPSTREAM THINKING’ INITIATIVE.   UPSTREAM THINKING  The ‘Upstream Thinking’ initiative was originally conceived as the result of some ‘lateral thinking’ by the Westcountry Rivers Trust Project Team ‐ all of whom recognised that we, as a society, place huge demands on landowners in our rural catchments. Not only do we require them to produce food from their land, for which they get paid, but we also ask them to deliver a number of services from their land for which they do not get paid. These services include the provision of clean water, the protection of biodiversity, contributions to flood defences, the management of landscape character and accommodation of recreation and access. It is, perhaps, unsurprising then that these land managers often struggle to deliver all of these services to the level required by society. Instead of resorting to prosecuting landowners for not delivering all of the above services, under the traditional ‘polluter pays’ principle, the Upstream Thinking project team believe that landowners should be financially encouraged and rewarded for their positive actions in what could be described as a new ‘provider is paid’ principle. South West Water have recognized that it is cheaper to help farmers deliver cleaner raw water (water in rivers and streams) than it is to pay for the expensive filtration equipment that is required for them to treat polluted water after it is abstracted from the river for drinking. South West Water also believe that water consumers will be better served and in a more cost‐effective manner if they spend the money raised from water bills on catchment restoration in the short‐term
  17. 17.     rather than on water filtration in the long term. They anticipate that, through this proactive rather than reactive approach, they may be able to reduce the future additional costs of water purification by a factor of fifty and so ultimately save their customers from footing the bill. It is estimated that the entire Upstream Thinking initiative will cost each water consumer in the South West around 65p per year. What makes the Upstream Thinking project even more beneficial is that, in addition to improving raw water quality, there are likely to be a wide array of additional benefits. First, the beautiful natural landscape of the Westcountry, which is highly valued by so many residents and visitors alike, will be protected and restored on an unprecedented scale. Second, the work will reap huge rewards in the conservation of biodiversity on the land and in our rivers and nature conservation will become an integral part of the living working landscape once again, rather than the exclusive preserve of protected nature reserves. Finally, farmers will, as a result of the project, be paid fairly for delivering not just food from their land but also a wide variety of other essential services for the benefit of society as a whole. The Westcountry Rivers Trust as a partner of the South West Water Upstream Thinking initiative will focus on delivering farm infrastructure and land use improvement works in five areas across Devon and Cornwall that form critical elements of South West Water’s Strategic Supply Network for drinking water;  Upper Haddeo (Wimbleball Reservoir) (1)  Upper Wolf (Roadford Lake) (2)  Upper Tamar Lakes (3)  Other Upper Tamar catchments, including the Ottery (4)  Upper Fowey catchment, including Colliford and Sibleyback Reservoirs (5) = Upstream Thinking work area  Over‐stocking can lead to field poaching and erosion 
  18. 18.     FUNDRAISING NEWS  18 Funding surge will boost river conservation efforts AFTER A RECORD BREAKING 2010 FOR THE TRUST, IN TERMS OF THE AMOUNT OF WORK WE HAVE WON AND DELIVERED, WE  ARE NOW LOOKING TO RAISE EVEN MORE MONEY TO FUND RIVER CONSERVATION WORK IN 2011.   With last year proving to be the Westcountry Rivers Trust’s biggest year yet and with our involvement in five major river conservation projects continuing into 2011 (and with several new projects on the horizon) we look set to increase the amount of river conservation work we do even further this year. In addition to our usual fundraising work (writing funding bids for major projects, engaging with our supporters and trading by Tamar Consulting) the Trust has also established an Endowment Fund to provide a platform that, we hope, will give us the stability and freedom to continue our work long into the future. For more information contact the Trust for an Endowment Fund Info Pack. Trust in a show this summer  The Westcountry Rivers Trust will be on the road again this year  with exhibits planned for all of the major Westcountry and  national shows.  So, if you are at one of the county shows, the Spring Fly Fishing  Show, the Game & Equine Show, the Bath & West Show, the  Launceston Show, the Game Fair or the Holsworthy & Stratton  Show then feel free to come along to our stand for a chat.  The shows and events we attend each year are a great way to  meet people, make contacts and raise awareness of the work  we do to promote and protect the Westcountry’s rivers.  Annual fundraiser is great success In December 2010 friends, associates, and supporters of the Trust assembled in the spectacular setting of Bovey Castle to attend our Annual Lunch fundraising event. Despite the icy conditions on the approach to the splendid country hotel venue, all arrived safely and the day was a great success. After dinner the assembled audience were addressed by Trust Director Dylan Bright and the guest speaker Professor Michael Winter OBE who is a prominent expert on rural politics and economics and Director of the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter . Annual Lunch guests  enjoy the warmth of the  fire in the Cathedral Suite  at Bovey Castle.  Trust stand at a  recent show 
  19. 19.     WRT ONLINE  NewTrust websites up and running The end of 2010 saw the launch of a re‐designed and re‐structured Westcountry Rivers Trust website. The new site has a number of new features including a new photo gallery and an interactive map of the Westcountry showing all of our different projects at a catchment‐by‐catchment level. In addition to the new Trust site we have also been working to create new websites for the AARC Project (, the WATER Project ( and the Hatchery Forum ( The next big challenge in 2011 will be the redesign of the Tamar Consulting website. Thanks to our supporters and funders WE  WOULD  LIKE  TO  SAY  A  HUGE  THANK‐YOU  TO  ALL  OF  OUR  SUPPORTERS  AND  FUNDERS—WITHOUT  YOUR  SUPPORT  WE  WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO ENHANCE THE HEALTH AND NATURAL VALUE OF OUR RIVERS AND RIVER CATCHMENTS.  River cameras are a real catch online  In 2009 four friends sat in a west country pub and had a great idea—what if there  were cameras on every river that allowed you to monitor their condition online. Later  that year, now called Farson Digital, they installed their first cameras on the River  Exe at Exebridge and on the Taw at Umberleigh.   Since then, supported by the Westcountry Rivers Trust through their EU‐funded  Collabor8 Project, Farson Digital have installed cameras on  18 Westcountry rivers and are continuing to expand their  network across England (34), Wales (1) and Scotland (17).   19 The cameras are now getting thousands of visitors each week and later in 2011 when Farson Digital  launch their new national website they and the Trust will be able to reap the rewards and make a  huge contribution to the promotion of angling in the Westcountry.  New site in development for carbon storage The summer of 2011 will see the development of a new website for the C‐Plus Project currently being established by Laurence Couldrick. The aim of the C‐Plus Project will be to develop a system whereby money for the restoration of rivers and wetland habitats is raised from regional ‘environmental off‐setters’ (businesses or people who, for one reason or another, want to redress some of their negative environmental impacts). More news to follow later in the year, but if you want to know more about the C‐Plus Project you can by visiting
  20. 20.