Sunday, 21 October 2018

Environmentalists working to increase wild trout

ENVIRONMENTALISTS are trying to increase the number of wild trout in Watlington stream.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS are trying to increase the number of wild trout in Watlington stream.

They plan to create areas of light and shade by coppicing or cutting back vegetation and creating "deflecting devices" from the off-cuts to ease the flow of the stream.

Mike Chadwick, of the Watlington Environment Group, said trout required a diverse habitat.

Outlining the plans at a meeting of Watlington Parish Council, he said: "They need enough food and they need a place to breed and places to hide to avoid being  predated.

"What we would like to do is enhance the habitat still further to safeguard what we have now and increase the level of population."

The group has been running a watercourses project for the past two years. Mr Chadwick said: "It’s a spring-fed stream coming out of chalk. Despite the fact a lot of it is highly engineered, it has retained a lot of qualities that chalk streams have.

"Despite the level of engineering in Watlington, we have a population of trout. If you approach quietly you’ll often see them flitting into cover.

"The conditions are good but it’s a relatively small population of trout and the potential to have more is always there.

"If there was a pollution incident or anything like that they could be at risk with a single incident."

The work would be done by volunteers with supervision from the Wild Trout Trust and would be vetted by the Environment Agency.

Mr Chadwick said: "We should be able to start work in the autumn but we have to do it before the trout breed, which is Novemberish."

Council vice-chairman Matt Reid suggested that schools would benefit from being involved.

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