Habitat works are ongoing on the Little River Avon, we have always had work parties once a month during the summer months in earlier years and will most likely extend this into the winter months, as we have some major challenges to overcome, as well as some exciting new projects to undertake that were conceived in conjunction with advice from the Wild Trout Trust; I will avoid getting into too much detail about the many issues we face on the river at this stage but will begin documenting events briefly here and begin to build a more complete picture over time.
Update March 2012
The planned reed spraying work has been delayed, so after a little too-ing and fro-ing, the Berkeley Estate Office and Syndicate organised some help from the Lower Severn IDB in the Autumn; the LSIDB manage the secondary waterways in the area but are not responsible for the main river, they are however the best people to get involved in hasty clearing work, as they are very experienced and able to tackle such issues easily as part of their daily routine – with just a few days of work with a specialist machine the reeds were cut rapidly (with a long reach excavator with specialist draining / cutting bucket) for perhaps a kilometre of river. The most dense and difficult to reach spots were cleaned through almost effortlessly and the syndicate has followed up with two manual work parties in February and March to tidy up some left over spots; we waded the river at the Castle end, cropping small sections of the reeds not tackled by the machine. We will need to continue to check the reed growth but for now it’s under control early in the season – the amount of work done by the machine was outstanding, a few days with the excavator saved months of working hours and we are grateful that the estate took the step of paying to undertake the work, a daunting task is behind us for now, leaving us free to tackle other habitat works on the river – the usual tree tidying will continue and we’ll soon have the dreaded Himalayan Balsam to tackle (again).
Update May 2011
25th May 2011 – three of the Berkeley Estate Fishing syndicate management team attended a meeting with Dr Johnathan Newman and the estate this week about the reed issues in the lowland sections of the river; things are looking positive on the way forwards with a three year plan being established to recapture the river from an overabundance of reeds. Over the past 3 or 4 years and despite work parties, the river has been dominated by a single species dominating the habitat to the detriment of all others, the last few years has seen 2 miles of the channel become totally overrun. The potential for flooding is one issue to the community but also the lack of flow is of concern to the fishermen, we will be strategically spraying the reeds over time beginning in the autumn, coupled with manual clearing and strategic planting along the bankside to offer shade via foliaged buffer zones. We will be implementing some Willows and other indigenous species of varying scale and character over the next few years.
Reed growth in the autumn 2010 and a phone picture of the same spot on the day of the meeting: