Projects Round-Up

November 17, 2021

The RTCT team has been busy behind the scenes delivering on-going projects, rounding up completed projects while scoping out and seeking funding for new projects:

Chalgrove Brook

Possibly the last refuge for brown trout in the catchment. We’re working to help prevent pollution entering the Chalgrove Brook and its tributaries, carrying out habitat improvements and securing fish passage along its length (see Stadhampton news below). We hope to carry out some in-stream enhancements on a privately owned site this summer. We’re supported by several local groups, including Watlington Environment Group (WEG) who are running a water testing project linked to both this and the Horsenden stream projects (see below and news article).

Stadhampton Mill, fish by-pass channel

We have been working hard to design a fish passage solution at Stadhampton Mill, now the first major barrier to fish movement on the river from the confluence with the Thame. The design is taking shape and will involve creation of ~120m. of new channel around the old weir structure. We plan to complete the design process and apply for planning permission and EA permits this year ready for delivery in 2022.

Overy Mill (Dorchester) weirs, fish passage project

Fish passage is also the theme for a project at Overy Mill near the confluence of the river with the Thames at Dorchester. This is the first barrier on the river back from the Thames and a key one to tackle to not only help fish populations in the Thame but bring resilience to the Thames populations in this area. We are working closely with the EA and landowners to develop a solution here and are currently carrying out detailed hydrological and hydraulic modelling to inform our design options.

We were out at Overy Mill near Dorchester recently with the EA Hydrometry and telemetry team who obtained some river spot flow measurements for us using this high tech ADCP boat. This information is important in helping refine our hydraulic and hydrological modelling to aid in the design of the fish passage solution at the site.

Engaging with Farmers

Working with farmers to develop projects to enhance water-dependent systems and habitats on their land has taken a step forward, and along with partners Freshwater Habitats Trust, we have been busy scoping habitat enhancements and seeking funding to get ground investigations underway at several farms along the main Thame floodplain.

Upper Ouse NFM

Our Natural Flood Management (NFM) Project is receiving growing attention. Recently, many new people have expressed an interested in NFM and we are working to meet everyone over the coming weeks. We have also received the results of our modelling of the Upper Ouse catchment and identified 5 areas in which to focus NFM measures. If you are interested in NFM, and / or have land near to any of the following streams, please contact enquiries@riverthame.org: Syresham Stream, Radstone Brook, Hinton Stream, Gawcott / Tingewick Brook, Radstone Brook.

Horsenden Stream

The Horsenden stream is one of our catchments precious chalk streams and alongside the EA and colleagues at the AONB (through the HLF chalk, cherries, and chairs sub project ‘Water in a Dry Landscape’), we are looking at the stream with the aim of eventually restoring a population of brown trout. Current work is looking at limiting factors for trout including habitat, water quality and fish passage barriers.

Pollution incidents

We track pollution incidents where we can and liaise with Thames Water and the EA to ensure incidents are properly investigated. Over the last few months, we have been following up incidents around Princes Risborough, Lewknor and Wheatley. If you see what you think is a pollution incident call the EA on 0800 807060 and Thames Water on 0800 3169800; take photographs, note the extent of the incident, any smell and any dead or dying fish. Then let us know as well!

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