Posts Tagged ‘habitat’

Gravel augmentation helps salmon to breed in upper Avon

A programme of gravel augmentation has been successfully carried out on the upper Avon by the Westcountry Rivers Trust, funded by South West Water, as an extension of collaborative work to improve the riparian environment for fish.   Gravel is an essential component of the salmon breeding grounds but on the Avon these breeding areas have become depleted because the natural flow of gravel downstream is interrupted by the Avon Dam.   Details of the work are available here:-

http://wrt.org.uk/gravel-bringing-salmon-back-to-devon-river/

Consultation about designating the Devon Avon Estuary as a new Marine Conservation Zone

DEFRA is consulting until 20th July 2018 about designating new Marine Conservation Zones, seeking any fresh information that might influence the decision.  The summary sheet for the Avon Estuary proposal is available here – Devon Avon Estuary Factsheet

At present, the proposal does not include South Efford Marsh or the full extension of the Bass Nursery Zone out to Burgh Island.

The ACA, unsurprisingly, fully supports such a designation and our suggested modifications as a means of protecting the marine life of the estuary from unwarranted change, development or exploitation.

Our formal response is available for inspection here :- MCZ – Devon Avon Estuary

DEFRA reply – All responses will be considered before Ministers make their final decisions on which sites will be designated in the third tranche. We aim to designated this tranche within 12 months. Final decisions on which sites will be designated will take into account any relevant information submitted as part of this consultation. We will publish details of evidence received and a full Government response to these together with the final decisions on each site within 12 months. This will be placed on the consultations section of the Government web site.

 

AONB – BIOSECURITY IN SOUTH HAMS’ RIVER ESTUARIES

The ACA has collaborated with the AONB Estuaries Partnership in producing a new biosecurity plan, available on the link below, to help stop the spread of marine non-native species in our South Hams estuaries..  Please read it and take note.

The risks of an invasive non-native species in the Avon are relatively low owing to the regular flushing of the estuary by freshwater but with increases in the number of people and craft using the estuary for recreational purposes, the danger is still present.  Please be vigilant and take any relevant precautions, as advised in the plan.

The effects of invasion by Spartina or cord grass in the Avon Estuary after artificial introduction by Man are all too evident in the steady accumulation of silt and mud.   Multiplication of the Pacific Oyster outside of the farmed racks in our estuary is prevented by limiting the externally-sourced juveniles to triploid (infertile) individuals.

See the full plan here:-

Salcombe Biosecurity Plan

May 2016 – further ‘ecological’ water releases from Avon dam

Water releases from the Avon dam have been negotiated by the Devon Avon Group during dry spells of weather in order to facilitate, for example, the migration of salmon smolt.   Full details are available in Notes from the DAG meetings, elsewhere on this website.

Currently (10th May) the river water level at the Loddiswell gauging station is 0.28m – at the low end of the normal range of 0.25m-1.80m.   Therefore, the Environment Agency has triggered, with the close collaboration of SWW, the release of an extra 65ML per day of water from the dam between 3.00pm on Friday 6th May and Monday 9th May.   Most of the benefit will be in the upper reaches of the river, which for many years have run very low during dry weather.

NETTING IN THE ESTUARY – IFCA SURVEY

Devon and Severn Inshore Fishing Conservation Authority  is conducting a review of netting byelaws in our river estuaries.    If you follow the links provided here -  newsletter netting review – , you can complete a survey to provide your views about netting in the Devon Avon estuary.

I have responded on behalf of the ACA, writing, in summary, ‘Current, indiscriminate netting within the Devon Avon’s estuary makes a mockery of any attempts at balanced conservation of our river’s wildlife’.