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 and let me know if the blog helped to convince you! Membership applications can be completed via the website .


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

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

Why Presume to Remove Weirs? (with River Dove Case Study)

Weirs and the Backwards Ways that Rivers Work One of my favourite sayings on river restoration is a mangled quote from a movie

"...boxing is an unnatural act. Everything in boxing is backwards: sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to step backwards...but step back too far and you ain't fighting at all".

So my mangled version starts out "Everything in rivers is backwards...". Basically, I never seem to run out of new examples of "what SEEMS to happen in a river is actually the complete opposite of what really happens".

The rest of this article looks at many of the "backwards" things about weirs and rivers - and finishes off with a real-world case-study that is playing out right now on the River Dove.

One spoiler alert is that, from an ecological point of view, it is almost always safe to assume that:

The best biological outcome for a river is the removal of some or all of an artificial weir. 
Now, I don't expect you to believe that…

CATCH in Wincanton and News of the First Recorded Wild Brown Trout Following Their Hard Work

Blog posts are like London Buses it seems!

This one is just a very short "Congratulations" to the Folks at CATCH (Community Action to Transform the Cale Habitat) and the video put out by Wincanton Window (embedded below).

All of the folks in the partnership mentioned in the video have done HUGE amounts of work (from classroom education projects to habitat working parties and endless enthusiasm for engaging more people in their local river and much more besides).

A big disclaimer from me is that, although this project is supported by/affiliated with our Trout in the Town project - it has been Mike Blackmore who has fulfilled that role for the WTT rather than myself.

So massive well done to all involved (especially you Gary Hunt!)- it is wonderful to see all of the fish and wildlife coming back to the Cale. Of course, it is absolutely delightful to see that wild brown trout put in an appearance as well!

It seems to be all the rage for recovering urban stream projects in the &q…

Birmingham and Coventry's Urban Waterways

It's about time for a new blog post and I thought it would be good to flag up some of the investigations that I've been doing in conjunction with Waterside Care (which, in itself, is supported by Keep Britain Tidy).

As well as initial investigations on the River Cole around the Shire Country Park and Burberry Brickworks, more recent forays to the little Westley Brook, River Sowe, Stonehouse Brook and a little stream in the Holly Wood Local Nature Reserve (between Great Barr and Queslett) have seen me criss-crossing the M6 and M69 and the surrounding areas.

What always surprises me is just how much of the Black Country/Coventry area is essentially "floating" on a vast network of underground watercourses which suddenly pop up into daylight in surprising places. Of course this puts a lot of pressure onto the biology of these streams - not only from the physical "encasing" of their channels in brick and concrete (both above and below ground).

It is the ever-pre…