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Going all the way on the Cray

A little London Chalkstream near Sidcup which has been diligently looked after in recent years by Thames21's Ashe Hurst got another shot in the arm on Thursday and Friday last week. Two of the WTT's conservation officers (Andy Thomas and Paul Gaskell) did two days of specific habitat improvement works in order to train the Thames21 staff and volunteers (including local youngsters who have been excluded from schools). A variety of uses of woody debris, brash bundles, wire, stakes and metal pin fixings were used to promote localised scouring of the stream bed, sorting and cleaning of spawning gravels and submerged "brashy" cover for juvenile fish.

The videos below show the increase in flow and change from "concreted" immobile gravels (with dark algal growth) to mobile and silt free (light coloured)particles at the pinch point created by an upstream "V" flow deflector

The flows prior to the installation of the upstream V were much more sluggish and favoured the deposition of silt. Now there is much more variety in current pace and depth.

The upstream V featured in the video clips (above)showing the focussed flow and pale gravel displaced following loosening with a metal spike. Potential spawning habitat and holding pot for adult fish

Single log flow deflector to encourage localised scour and promote more meandering flow

Brashy cover to provide habitat for fry and parr (here in a spot too shady to allow marginal plant growth)

Mini transverse log - note pronounced undershot scouring flows bubbling up on the downstream side of the log (to the right)producing patch of self-cleaning gravel and holding pot for fish

The pictures cover just a small selection of what was installed over the two day training visit and this will also be extensively added to by Ashe and his teams of volunteers in the coming months. Ultimately, it is hoped that self-sustaining populations of wild trout can be re-established in this once degraded chalkstream. What is for certain is that local volunteers like Gaynor and Alan who worked like trojans for both days are absolutely passionate about caring for their local urban river.
Well done guys.



mrkorky said…
What a heart-warming story from every possible point of view (can't put angle). Hope those excluded kids get to fish as well
Andrew said…

I thought I would drop you line to let you know that we very much enjoyed reading your blog. So much so that we decided to include it in a review of fly fishing blogs that we have published on our website here.

We think that what you are doing is very worth while - the Fishtec blog has a wide readership so we hope that what we've written will inspire people to visit your blog...

Please do let us know if there's anything we've got wrong and we'll change it.


Robin Falvey
The Fishtec Blog Team
Michelle said…
This is such an amazing entry and I love to read more of it so that I will be able to look over and have it as an inspiration for further articles to write about when it comes to updates on fly fishing and it's pros and cons too. I do hope you will get to visit our official website and let us know what you think about it. Here is the link

Thanks ahead :)

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