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Don Vito

Sheffield's own godfather of industry, the river Don, now has a small family of loyal protectors. SPRITE (Sheffield Partnership: Rivers In Town Environments) aims to work alongside local businesses, government, the Don Catchment Rivers Trust and conservation volunteers to protect and rejuvenate the urban river corridors of the city and its suburbs.
SPRITE is the Sheffield branch of the Trout in the Town family and is headed up by two figures; local ecologist Dr. Cheri Gibson and lifelong local angler John Blewitt (who was intereviewed along with TINTT by the Walkley Herald about the project):

Despite the Don's much improved water quality and the existence of nice habitat patches (with great potential for more), there are still many obstacles to tackle for wildlife in general - and the iconic wild brown trout in particular. Habitat managment and restoration for the benefit of brown trout automatically also benefits the general river corridor wildlife. The trout requires good water quality, robust invertebrate food-webs, well-connected habitats (not fragmented by weirs), balanced marginal vegetation and trees and physical variety within the river channel. Providing all these things is the key to establishing a fantastic, well rounded wildlife population of a variety of coarse and game fish, invertebrates, birds, voles, otters, bats, wildflowers, mixed-age trees (and the control/eradication of dominant invasive plant species where possible).

It is a shame that having active riffle/pool sequences like these (with good quality water)

Is no deterrent to the scenes of fly tipping along this secton of river

So, in the words of another famous Don

"What have I ever done to make you to treat me so disrespectfully? If you had come to me in friendship then this scum that ruined your [river] would be suffering this very day"

Well - perhaps we won't be asking for protection money; but just a little volunteer time and appropriate contributions from the local community, businesses, councils and Environment Agency can go a long way to repaying the injustices done to the river.


Andy Pritchard said…
Brilliant news that John has got this one off the ground, congratulations to all on the Don; I will come and fish it sometime this year.

Paul Gaskell said…
John's also done a great job in identifying as far as possible the many riparian owners on the urban sections of the river. Quite a challenge. In addition, Cheri's got some superb guided river walks arranged and entered into the brochure for Sheffield Environment weeks as well as working on our "mayfly in the classroom". It looks like Sheffield will be a great testing ground for the mayfly initiative.

Unknown said…
well done Paul i am trying to get something like this started on the river drone in dronfield which is in a similar state to the don

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