Skip to main content

Fair Game at the Game Fair

Just to catch up with a quick report on the CLA Gamefair. Trout in the Town featured prominently on the WTT stand - with its artificial stream including an urbanised section for the first time. Features such as cobbled stream bed and concrete slab side walls were augmented with a couple of "fly tipped" black bin bags, an old pallet and a couple of bottles to represent typical problems faced by urban watercourses. This feature was a surprisingly effective draw (either to people who immediately "got" it - or, perversely, also for people who started to complain that the bottom end of our display looked a state......cue WTT "yes we think its unacceptable too: step this way and hear about our urban restoration project").
Entirely unexpectedly, it also turned into a spontaneous sociological experiment. Throughout the weekend the "fake" rubbish was supplemented by an increasing amount of litter deposited by the general public. A perfect illustration of the "permission" people feel to litter absolutely anywhere that there is an existing precedent. It only takes on person to break down the initial taboo - and everyone else will follow. What happend in our little artificial mock up of a stream is exactly what happens in real rivers everywhere, and it must be challenged. We have to destroy the concept of a river as a wet landfill. In its place we need to demonstrate the fantastic potential our urban streams have as vibrant wildlife corridors; and instill a proper sense of outrage at current common attitudes.
As well as flagging up the need to crusade against apathy toward casual fly tipping, some more directly positive news from the Game Fair was the terrific uptake of new memberships over the weekend. Given the current economic climate, this amazing result was especially heartening; and is a ringing endorsement for the Trust's aims and heartfelt beliefs.
If you think that what we are doing at the Trust is in any way worthwhile - join up (it costs just over 67 pence per week) so that we can do more in the future. If you join up, please email me on pgaskell@wildtrout.org and let me know if the blog helped to convince you! Membership applications can be completed via the website www.wildtrout.org .

Comments

Willb said…
Hi Paul

Interesting to read about the effects of rubbish on people's behaviour. We had a discussion about precisely this at a recent Don Trust meeting: one view that rubbish doesn't actually matter because things like shopping trolleys don't affect water quality, another that they do matter because people then regard the river as a dump site if it is 'unsightly'. Being all academic about it, does it say something about the relationship between natural science and social scientific ways of looking at things? Looking purely at the ecology would point to different priorities than looking at human behaviour; lesson: we need both!

Best wishes, enjoying the blogs

Will
Paul G said…
Yeah in terms of restoration projects - securing funding, engaging local stakeholders and just general credibility with the general public - it seems to be pretty important to get on top of the fly tipping. Its very difficult to persuade almost anybody that a river is worth conserving (or even biologically viable) if it is full of scrap, plastic and tyres. That said, the biology often copes well with it (certainly compared to toxic pollution or nutrient enrichment). However, you do get things strangling themselves on plastic and tape from old video cassettes etc.

Popular posts from this blog

Catching and Releasing the first Fly-Caught wild trout from a stream that was dug out of a city-centre pipe was probably the highlight of 2016 for me!

Buried in a brick tunnel under England's industrial developments of the 1800s, a section of the Porter Brook in Sheffield was brought back to the surface by a bold project co-ordinated by Sheffield City Council and involving the Wild Trout Trust, The Environment Agency and many more partners.

You can now witness the actual process of freeing the Brook from its pipe - and the creation of functioning trout-stream habitat in this short video.



Yet, the above video does not show the completed park that was a huge part of the entire project - and it does not show the planted vegetation beginning to develop in the summer of 2016. And, it does not show any fly fishing or video of a trout capture...

But the film, below, that was made by the excellent Huckleberry Films as part of the Canal & Rivers Trust "Living Waterways" awar…

Buried Stream Project Wins National Prize

I'm delighted to say that the Porter Brook Deculverting project was selected as the 2016 Winner in the Canal & Rivers Trust for "Contribution to the Built Environment". This was a multi-partner partnership project (with key involvement of Sheffield City Council, the Environment Agency and more) that I was fortunate to have the opportunity to design the in-channel habitat features to provide the best functional benefits for trout and the wider aquatic foodweb. The Sheffield Branch of Trout in the Town "SPRITE" are caring for the habitat as well as monitoring the aquatic life in this new section of daylighted urban stream.

As well as my previous blog posts on the subject, the awards scheme made short videos (less than 2-minutes) long that captured key elements of each project entry. You can see the film for the winning Porter Brook project below. Please enjoy and share (and also check out the other project videos on YouTube from this year's awards).

A previously buried section of stream produces the first fly caught trout in >160 years

As near as I can work out from the archaeology report, this section of river - recently brought back to the surface in dramatic fashion by Sheffield City Council, the EA and the WTT partnership - was buried in a low brick tunnel somewhere around 1853 to 1868. The northern half of the site was certainly buried underground BEFORE the time the 1853 map was produced....and the rest of the brick tunnel was placed over the top of the stream before the map of 1868...

Of course, it is not easy to tell what the water quality was like in that section even BEFORE the stream was buried...and whether there were trout surviving in the stream when it was sealed underground...

What is damned sure is that you couldn't wave a fly fishing rod around in that underground tunnel once they'd built it!

This was still the case until the completion of the massive project to remove the brickwork and create an attractive "pocket park" in the city centre. You might have seen from This Previous …