Going, going ..? Time for action

Laura White
Laura White

A local fish and river conservation project is celebrating after being awarded a grant of £243,100 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Led by the Teign Angling & Conservation Association (TACA), this four year project aims to increase the numbers of salmon and sea trout returning to the River Teign and its tributaries.

Chairman of TACA Roger Furniss said:
“Thanks to The National Heritage Lottery Fund we have the opportunity to work with our partners to reverse the long-term decline in numbers of iconic wild salmon and sea trout. We will also help people’s understanding of the environment of the Teign, its fish and the rich angling heritage they support. We’re doing this for the future.”

Stuart McLeod, Director London & South at
The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Caring for and having access to our heritage and our natural world will be ever more important as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. Thanks to National Lottery players, this project will engage a wide range of people in recording the history of angling on the River Teign and in creating a healthy future for the river and its wildlife.”

Project partners include the National Trust, Westcountry Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, MED Theatre and the internationally renowned artist Peter Randall-Page. The project will start work in earnest in January 2021.

Working at a catchment scale, the project will establish a volunteer workforce to help improve the habitat for migratory fish, raise awareness in the importance of the river for wildlife and the key pressures causing fish declines, capture oral histories associated with the rich cultural heritage of angling on the river, inspire local people – young and old – to take an interest in the river, produce a local book and a community play and encourage more people to participate in the healthy pastime of angling.

The conservation work will focus on restoring and maintaining free access for migratory fish on the upstream part of their journey.

The reasons for targeting this upstream work can be summarised as:

  • if a given number of parent fish are spread out over a wider area, the percentage of surviving juveniles will be proportionately greater,
  • the cost of the work is relatively small compared to the benefits,
  • relative to other restoration activities, the effects of this work will be seen in the next generation of fish and are readily measurable with redd counts and electro-fishing surveys.

Targeted improvement works in the project will include:

  • walkover surveys co-ordinated for thecatchment to identify and, where appropriate,remove local obstacles for spawning adult fish– particular focus on the tributaries and informed by historic spawning survey data,
  • management of bankside vegetation working in partnership with riparian owners. Working with the National Trust and the Woodland Trust on a longer-term Management Plan for their parts of the river and expanding this approach to other riparian owners with key spawning tributaries,
  • targeted coppice management work to enable light to reach the river. Examples could include over-shaded pools and riffle areas,
  • gravel cleaning on known key spawning sites where the gravel has become clogged to compliment longer term self-sustaining improvements to the river,
  • co-ordinated riverfly invertebrate monitoring,
  • assisting with juvenile fish surveys (electrofishing),
  • conducting annual spawning redd surveys,
  • co-ordinating surveys of avian predators,
  • identifying potential sources of pollution for future targeted work.

An exciting opportunity exists to become a Project Officer. The group are looking for a suitably experienced individual who is able to inspire a small army of volunteers and who can work on a self-employed contract basis.

For further information on this role contact
David West via email west@beara.plus.com or phone 07534 862714.

Local Life