BART have completed the final phase of our “Caring for the Cam” project, helping to improve the health of the Cam Brook near Bath for the benefit of wildlife and people.
During Autumn 2019, BART invited a group of local people to the banks of the Cam Brook to learn about the habitat improvement work we have carried out during 2018 and educate them about how they can contribute towards the project and the health of their local river.
Building upon BART’s Cam Brook in-stream restoration project, which was funded by the Environment Agency during 2018, the first half of 2019 saw the Caring for the Cam project deliver 650 metres of solar-powered permanent electric fencing to reduce bank erosion by livestock. BART’s aquatic ecologist Jessy Grant also delivered riverfly monitoring training for 9 new riverfly monitors who will provide monthly samples which will help identify water quality issues of the brook.
With funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, BART delivered a river dipping event on the restored section of the brook on a warm evening during September 2019. 21 enthusiastic cub scouts joined George, BART’s Project Officer, to survey a section of the brook. Armed with nets, buckets, trays and magnifying glasses the explorers learned the river dipping technique and collected invertebrates found living on the river bed. Following the re-profiling of a small weir the clear gravel bed was full of mayfly and stonefly larvae, along with freshwater shrimp (Gammarus) and other wonderful creatures – the group enjoyed learning how to identify each of the mini beasts. The group were fascinated by the wildlife they encountered and vowed to help protect it!
The final part of the project saw 15 fantastic volunteers give up their Saturday to help BART plant a range of native trees along the river bank within an area that was previously trampled by livestock before fencing was installed earlier in the project.
BART’s operations team, local volunteers and members of Avon and Tributaries Angling Association planted 250 trees along the river bank, which will establish into a buffer zone between the new fencing and the brook. The trees, carefully selected for their benefits to wildlife and habitat, were strategically planted along 500 metres of river bank.
A vegetated buffer zone of trees was created to filter pollutants from adjacent agricultural land before surface water enters the watercourse. The trees will provide a river corridor habitat for native wildlife and help to stabilise the soil along the banks. Trees will provide shade during periods of low flows and high temperature, reducing water temperatures and helping to maintain oxygen in the water. Leaves and woody material which falls into the brook will provide a primary input of nutrients and food for detritus shredding organisms such as freshwater shrimp (Gammarus), which are food for fish and birds.
The Caring for the Cam project has engaged the local community with their local river, trained a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers in water quality monitoring, improved the health of the brook and riparian corridor for the benefit of fish, invertebrates, mammals and birds.
BART has now raised over £100,000 towards the Wellow, Cam & Midford Brook and we will continue to identify opportunities and raise funds to deliver further benefits for people and wildlife in the valley.
For more information on the project please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Postcode Local Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Our project received funding from the Trust to complete the river restoration works and engage with the community.