Citizen Science: Water Quality Monitoring

Bristol Avon WaterBlitz The Bristol Avon WaterBlitz is an annual citizen science event that gains a snapshot of water quality in the rivers and streams across the catchment. The event is run in partnership with FreshWater Watch, a global programme developed by the environmental NGO, Earthwatch, who coordinate WaterBlitz events around the world. BART continues…

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fit4change

Get active and support BART!

Get active and support BART! Do you want to turn that walk to the shops, that morning jog or cycle around the park, or that indoor social distancing exercise into a benefit to your local Rivers Trust at no cost to yourself? Simply download the Fit4Change App from the Fit4Change website: https://www.fit4change.com/ Choose Bristol Avon…

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South Brook Natural Flood Management

“Nature Based Solutions” in South Brook

BART has been attending site visits to gain landowner permissions within the South Brook catchment for the delivery of the Natural Flood Management (NFM) works. Schemes have been identified via BART’s previous survey work. This work could contribute towards reducing flood risk to local infrastructure, homes and businesses. The South Brook catchment, near Melksham, Wiltshire has…

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River Chew Fisheries Improvement Project

River Chew Fisheries Improvement Project

Taking place between May 2019 and March 2020, The River Chew Fisheries Improvement Project is a partnership project funded by the Environment Agency and Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership. Project funding provided BART with the resource to work in partnership with River Chew angling clubs to better understand their concerns for the sport, whilst generating a plan that identifies areas within the catchment for improvement, including recommended…

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BART’s Spring Newsletter 2020

We hope you enjoy BART’s Spring 2020 newsletter! https://mailchi.mp/123db02c1017/barts-spring-newsletter The newsletter provides readers with a summary of the variety of projects that we have delivered throughout the Bristol Avon catchment over the past few months. There has been changes, challenges with weather and another hurdle to overcome over the coming months, but we are proud…

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“Working with Natural Processes” in the Winford Brook

BART has installed a series of ‘leaky dams’ that will help contribute towards “slowing the flow” and deliver for multiple benefits along a small tributary of the Winford Brook This particular scheme was identified during BART’s 2019/20 Winford Brook catchment wide survey funded by Bristol Water. BART has identified several schemes throughout the Winford Brook…

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Only Rain Down the Drain: addressing water quality issues in the Bristol Frome

BART are working on a catchment scale to address the sources of pollution impacting the Bristol Frome. The Only Rain Down the Drain engagement project aimed to educate businesses on the impacts of waste disposal, drainage mis-connections and poor chemical storage practices to improve water quality in the river. Water quality investigations undertaken by BART…

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Job Vacancy – Project Manager, Agriculture & Land Management

Project Manager – Agriculture & Land Management Organisation: Bristol Avon Rivers Trust Salary: C£25,000 – £29,000 dependant on experience Location: Bristol Avon catchment Hours: Full Time, 40 hours per week. Flexibility required (some evening & weekend work) Position type: Paid Contract: Full time Closing date: Applications by 20th March 2020 Website: www.bristolavonriverstrust.org Contact name: Simon Hunter…

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BART electrofishing surveys

BART are pleased to announce that we now own our own set of electrofishing kit. BART has been conducting electrofishing surveys for some time with partners, however we have now been able to raise sufficient funds for our own equipment. Electrofishing is a fish surveying technique combining a mixture of electrical current with a known…

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Welcome to George, our new team member!

We are really excited to welcome George to our team! George is a keen conservationist with a passion for zoology and the environment. George has gained valuable experience delivering river restoration and habitat improvements throughout the Hampshire Avon during his time assisting the water team at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. George has a comprehensive knowledge of…

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Thank you to Charlfield Angling Club

BART are very grateful to Charfield Angling Association member Hans Thomsen, who, when fishing became too difficult for him, kindly donated his fishing kit to help raise funds for the rivers that provided him with years of sport. This thoughtfulness is really appreciated and needed as our rivers are under tremendous pressure. Hans generosity raised…

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Spawn to be Wild 2019

BART are delighted to announce that we have bought eels to 11 classrooms along the Bristol Avon for the fourth year running! The ‘Spawn to be Wild’ project is an innovative education project between Bristol Avon Rivers Trust, Avon Wildlife Trust & Bristol Water that seeks to engage pupils with the wildlife in their local…

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NEW VACANCY! – Project Officer

Organisation: Bristol Avon Rivers Trust Salary: C£18,000 – £22,000 Location: Bristol Avon catchment Hours: Full Time, 40 hours per week Flexibility required (some evening & weekend work) Position type: Paid Contract: Full time Closing date: Applications by Friday 19th April 2019 Website: www.bristolavonriverstrust.org Contact name: Simon Hunter Contact email: simon@bristolavonriverstrust.org Overview Due to an expected…

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Restoring the Wellow, Midford & Cam Brooks

BART has recently secured funding via the Environment Agency’s Water & Environment Improvement Fund to deliver habitat enhancement projects in two locations along the Cam & Wellow Brooks. The project aims to directly improve two water-bodies that are not meeting Water Framework Directive targets – in particular failing for fish where the classification has declined…

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BART welcomes new team members

We have had a very exciting few weeks as an increasing workload has meant that we have able to take on two new recruits, Alec Richardson as Education and Community Officer and Simon Hunter as a Project Manager!   Alec Richardson has spent nine year as a Secondary School Science teacher working in a variety…

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River Marden 2018 fisheries improvements

Project background In 2017, Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART) applied to the Environment Agency’s ‘Fisheries Improvement Fund’ following a walkover survey of the entire length of the river and several small improvement projects over recent years. The River Marden rises in Calstone Wellington, Wiltshire and runs through the town of Calne, then through pasture and villages…

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Rod licence funds – Environment Agency reports

The Environment Agency has today released the annual fisheries report detailing how rod licence income was distributed by the agency and its partners to protect and enhance angling and fisheries. The report details aspects of fisheries including money used to restock England’s rivers, enforcement and participation. The Wessex report, featuring our weir removals on the Wellow Brook…

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Walkover surveys find room for improvement!

BART have been very busy recently, travelling all over the catchment doing walkover surveys and writing advisory reports for river improvement projects including the Corston, Newton, and Nunney Brooks and the River Somer. Jess, our Aquatic Scientist, has found many issues on the Nunney Brook including channel straightening and re-enforced banks which means there is limited…

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Somerset Frome Sediment Pathways Project

BART have completed a very interesting and useful project funded by the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership this Spring. Sediment entering watercourses can have a detrimental effect on aquatic ecology, including fish and invertebrates.  This project has used predominantly field surveys to identify where sediment is entering watercourses in the upper Somerset Frome catchment and to…

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Duchy of Cornwall river surveys

BART have been busy over the last few months undertaking a variety of river surveys on Duchy of Cornwall estate land near to Bath, including: In-stream and riparian habitat surveys Surrounding land use investigations to assess impacts on water quality. Water quality monitoring Macroinvertebrate surveys Macrophyte surveys Riparian tree surveys Findings from these surveys will…

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Electrofishing surveys

This BART worked with Five Rivers Environmental Contractors carrying out electrofishing surveys along the Midford Brook and Wellow Brook near to Bath. These surveys were conducted at a number of sites to collect valuable data and increase our fisheries knowledge in the Catchment for a variety of reasons. Firstly, as pre-project monitoring, to determine species…

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Managing woody debris in rivers

BART regularly receive emails from local community groups who are doing fantastic work around their stretch of river but are unsure of how to deal with woody debris within the channel. Many people are prone to remove it in order to ‘tidy’ rivers, however woody debris is a vital component of our watercourses and its…

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Somerset Frome Sediment Pathways project update

Thanks to funding from the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership, BART has been busy on the upper Somerset Frome since October working on our Diffuse Pollution Sediment Pathways Project. Sediment entering watercourses can have a detrimental effect on aquatic ecology, including fish and invertebrates.  This project has used predominantly field surveys to identify where sediment is…

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River survey day with students from the University of the West of England

BART spent a day out on the Bristol Frome teaching UWE students a variety of different river habitat surveys. The students learnt new skills in land use mapping, identifying invertebrates and macrophytes and chemical water quality monitoring. The students were keen to get in the riverand see what invertebrates they could find, and weren’t dissapointed…

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NEW 2017 Riverfly training sessions

Thanks to funding from Big Lottery Fund‘s Awards for All programme, BART are pleased to announce that we will be running 4 new Riverfly Partnership training sessions. These one day sessions will provide participants with the skills needed to monitor aquatic invertebrates on a monthly basis as indicators of water quality. More information available here: https://bristolavonriverstrust.org/what-we-do/riverfly_monitoring/ All…

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Citizen Science Water Quality Monitoring Project

Thanks to funding from the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership, BART will be working with 8 Riverfly monitors, 5 community groups, 5 schools and 5 farmers to monitor chemical water quality in their local rivers throughout the catchment over the next year. This monitoring is testing for phosphates and nitrates with the global research project Freshwater Watch. Although naturally occurring in…

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NEW PROJECT!: Somerset Frome Diffuse Pollution Pathways

The Somerset Frome Diffuse Pollution Pathways project will use a risk grading approach to develop sediment pathway maps for the upper Somerset Frome (South of the town of Frome). To date, statutory monitoring programmes and local knowledge has been used to identify the main pressures and likely reasons for failure to meet water quality standards.…

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Wellow boulder weir removal

This month, thanks to funding from the Environment Agency Fisheries Fund, we have completed the removal of three boulder weirs on the Wellow Brook below Wellow, Bath. The boulder weirs have caused silt to build up in the stretches above and between them which has had a negative effect on spawning gravels. The weirs also present a barrier to…

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NEW PROJECT! Your Fisheries

Thanks to funding from the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership, BART are participating in a National pilot project called ‘Your Fisheries’, which aims to understand fisheries within the catchment. Your Fisheries, provides a common web-based planning system (and information repository) that brings together evidence and knowledge from a range of different sources to enable the production of catchment specific fisheries reports.…

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NEW PROJECT: LoCATE Bristol Frome

Greggs Foundation – Environmental Education for Local Communities BART are pleased to announce that we have received support from the Greggs Foundation to run our LoCATE Project alongside the Bristol Frome through Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The LoCATE (Local Community Action Through Education) Bristol Frome Project will work with communities along the Bristol Frome (focusing…

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**Confirmed crayfish plague on the By Brook**

Dear all,  Following a significant native white-clawed crayfish kill on the By Brook, Wiltshire in August/September, it has been confirmed that the crayfish sampled were infected with Aphanomyces astaci, which is the water mould (fungus) that causes crayfish plague. Crayfish plague is a deadly disease that infects and kills our native white-clawed crayfish. The invasive non-native…

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Return of the Lamprey

  The last month has seen two of our Riverfly Partnership monitors coming to us with a strange finding – lamprey larvae (or ‘ammocoetes’ as they are also known). One of the most primitive vertebrates alive today, lampreys are fascinating parasitic fish that are jawless and attach themselves to other fish to feed on blood…

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Cleveland Lido fish rescue

Last week BART worked with Westcountry Rivers Trust to conduct a fish rescue on Cleveland Lido in Bath. The lido, which is the oldest of its kind in the UK, is being restored following its closure in 1984. More information on the lido can be found here: https://www.hlf.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/uk%E2%80%99s-oldest-public-open-air-pools-reopen-thanks-heritage Around 600 fish were removed by electrofishing and taken to a new donor…

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Frome River Awareness Festival

BART has joined forces with a number of local organisations to put on Frome River Awareness Festival 2016, a series of events to raise awareness of the River Frome including its wildlife, its challenges and the partnerships which exist to try and improve it. Recent pollution events have tempered ongoing river improvement works but we are determined that…

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Yellow fish invade Bristol

Over the past month, BART have spent time with 80+ Bristol children and residents as part of our Yellowfish Project.  This project aims to raise awareness of water pollution by reminding people that any waste entering outdoor drains may go directly to the nearest stream, river or lake, causing pollution and killing wildlife. We’ve painted over 100 yellow fish near to storm…

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Fixing the Frome

Fixing the Frome Despite being a prominent feature through the town of Frome, the River Frome is suffering from a number of issues that are affecting the health of the river and the wildlife within and around it. So what can be done? Over the last few months a small partnership was formed to take advantage…

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Bags of Help

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help initiative across England and Wales. The scheme has seen three community groups and projects in each region awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge. Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s…

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New Catchment Plan launched for the Bristol Avon

BART are pleased to announce that The Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership, with whom BART are a member, have launched a comprehensive plan for improving our water environment. The new plan has identified four priority issues that need addressing to improve the health of the river environment: •Phosphorus (water quality issues) •Sediments (water quality/water quantity issues)…

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Environment Agency Publishes Pollution Incident Report 2014

July saw the Environment Agency’s 2014 summary of pollution incidents published. They report a 11% decrease in serious pollution incidents overall in 2014 and in particular a substantial decrease in incidents caused by sewage treatment works. However, whilst water companies may be cleaning up their act, the report shows a 7% increase in serious pollution incidents affecting…

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BY BROOK FEASIBILITY REPORTS.

  BART have completed a two year study of the By Brook catchment as part of a partnership project funded by the Environment Agency. The objectives of the project were to identify options which if pursued would lead towards the catchment meeting targets set within the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). The documents uploaded to…

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View from a volunteer

The following blog post comes from Andrea Goodmansen, our BART education volunteer who has joined us from Monterey, California:   “This summer I have spent time at Southmead Adventure Playground teaching children about the invertebrates living in their stream and the importance of keeping litter and pollution out of streams. Once a week during the summer holiday…

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BART goes floral

Wildflower meadow planting Meadows and grasslands were once an intrinsic part of British agriculture, bursting with colour and the hum of insects, but it has now been estimated that these important habitats have declined by over 97% since the 1930s, largely to our agricultural practices. Traditional farming practices would have had a mixture of different crops,…

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A thank you from ATAA

BART were delighted to receive this letter as thanks to an Environment Agency ‘Environmental leave’ balsam bash day that we organised for the Wellow Brook on behalf of the Avon and Tributaries Angling Association (ATAA). We removed at least two tons of balsam thanks to a lot of hard work from everyone involved. ATAA have…

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Bath Festival of Nature

BART had another great day at Festival of Nature this weekend, this time at Bath! It was encouraging to see so many people of all ages with an interest in protecting their environments. Whilst we were there we ran our drawing activity where each child drew a square of an iconic Bath scene:   and…

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Foam on rivers

Whilst walking along your local river, some of you may have noticed foam on the surface of the water. Although this may seem alarming, the following post from the Environment Agency explains how to distinguish between natural, harmless foam, and foam from human sources which may have detrimental effects on rivers -> Foam info Remember, if…

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BART Jan-Feb Newsletter

Our newsletter for January/February 2015 is now out! Follow this link to find out more about the work we’ve been doing over the past couple of months -> BART Jan-Feb Newsletter If you wish to be added to our mailing list to receive future editions, please email info@bristolavonriverstrust.org  

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Opportunity to have your say.

On Friday 10 October the Environment Agency launched their consultation on draft updates to the river basin management plans. The consultation will run until 10 April 2015. Consultation documents and response forms are available at: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/update-to-the-draft-river-basin-management-plans   The draft flood risk management plans (FRMP) consultation also opened on 10 October and will run until 31 January 2015. …

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Invasive Species – more bad news.

Dreissena rostriformis bugensis (Quagga Mussel) has been found in Wraysbury Reservoir and the Wraysbury River, a tributary of the River Colne, near Egham, Surrey.  This is the first UK record of this species.  The EA alert poster for this species is shown below. Alert Dreisena bugensis rostriformis (final)  The EA will be seeking to contain and slow the…

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BART becomes a Riverfly hub for the catchment

  The Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART) has spotted an opportunity to expand volunteering and engaging people actively with their local river through working with the Riverfly Partnership. Volunteering, particularly in the outdoors, is known to improve health and wellbeing for participants, whilst Riverfly Monitoring provides the opportunity to make a useful and ongoing contribution…

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Wiltshire Wrigglers

BART played a big part yesterday helping The Sustainable Eels Group in the placement of 100.000 juvenile eels into the waters of the Bristol Avon in Wiltshire. The link below is the press release which was issued. Andrew Kerr of the SEG and Ian were interviewed by BBC Radio Wiltshire and the clip is likely to be…

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New Page!

We have added a new page on the website under the heading “What we do”. The page reflects the importance of Catchment Management and the role BART is playing locally in this respect. There are some leaflets reflecting our involvement in three initiatives currently running within the catchment – please feel free to download them…

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Volunteers start work on River Trym

Some time ago there was a pollution incident on the Trym and as a result BART have benefitted from a settlement – see story by copying this link https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-enforcement-undertaking-accepted-from-water-company As a result we have started walkovers and collected data to identify what we can do to help improve and sustain the stream for the benefit…

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Upper Avon Initiative

We are distributing the attached leaflet at the Wild Sherston Festival this weekend and in other local events on the Sherston and Tetbury Avon downstream as far as Sutton Benger.  BART_Leafletdraft1 .We would be pleased to hear from anyone in the area who has views on the health of their local stretch of river or is…

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Upper Avon Initiative

My name is Maxine Goodey and I am currently studying an MSc in Environmental Consultancy at the University of the West of England (UWE). As part of my course I have to complete a five month industrial placement which I am undertaking at the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART). I am incredibly grateful to Ruth…

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Last weekend we were rewarded for not cancelling our river walk with the volunteers of the Sherston Grove community wood by a very lovely interlude of sunny weather with no wind. Our latest Beacon group showed us the amazing results of four years hard work in the wood – wild flowers popping up everywhere. Snowdrops…

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Friends of the Frome

We are very pleased that the Friends of the Frome (Somerset) have agreed to become our latest Beacon group. This simply means we will be combining our efforts on the Somerset Frome and sharing information where we can for mutual benefit. BART will be leading an initiative on the Somerset Frome which will result in…

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The link below details a small but important project which BART completed with several partners very recently. The cash cost was £84.00 but lots of man hours went into planning and implementation. We will keep an eye on the area over the Winter to check trout usage and hope to see better recruitment to stocks…

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World Rivers Day

Bart will be spending World Rivers Day at Bowood Game Fair where we hope to meet and enthuse local rivers users to get involved in improving their particular favourite stretch. In fact we were there today too! Hopefully the passionate people we spoke to today will contact us again shortly and let us know how…

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BART goes international!

This smiling group are the latest additions to our growing band of volunteers. They all hail from Naples and have backgrounds in Natural Sciences so will be a great addition to the team once they familiarize themselves with our fish and fowl. The group are making a start in this process by joining the By…

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By Brook Progress

Now we have agreement to proceed it is all hands to the pump to make the most of the Summer and progress the project as fast as possible. We have started the fish pass feasibility studies by contracting Mike and Matt Beech who you can see in the following photos taking levels and measurements on…

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Somerset Frome

Bart were invited by Avon & Tributaries Angling Association to join them last Sunday as part of their weekend of activities to promote angling and their lovely waters.  A relaxed roving “match” was arranged to see how many species of fish could be caught whilst showing some prospective members the water. A number of children…

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Good News For By Brook!

BART has just received confirmation that it has been awarded a Partnership contract to carry out improvements on the By Brook. You can see a draft of  the information release below the photos which are of the type of issues we will want to address on the Brook.   Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART) is…

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PES project – Little Avon

Phase two of this project has been completed and the final stage which would include recommendations for next steps is due for completion in August.  BART are excited at how well the combined team have performed and for the future on this lovely little river. BART are also busy building relationships in other areas of…

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Festival Of Nature

Mark and Ian model their new T-shirts! The Festival was BART’s first major public outing and it was great to see and hear the excitement of youngsters seeing the fish and bugs on display. Plenty of future volunteers! It was also good to get some of the main messages across about how damage to the…

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Festival Of Nature

The Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, 15th and 16th June. BART will be helping in the WildWaters tent and we have just completed our display board – everything arriving by van and postman during the week as planned.  While searching for some photos to include I found this little “volunteer” from 20 years…

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Bristol Big Green Week

If you haven’t already seen the array of interesting talks available in Bristol during this week – 15th to 23rd June take a peek. A highlight should be the Question Time: The State of Nature, the Next  Step.  BART will be attending to keep abreast of the great work being done locally by our Wildlife Trusts. We…

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Wild Trout Trust Workshop

Mark Everard, one of the Trust’s Trustees represented BART at the Wild Trout Trust workshop near Princetown, Devon, on the weekend of 8th and 9thJune.  Mark also gave an after-dinner talk about ‘Some fantastic things about fantastic fishes’.  (This was loosely based around some of the more bizarre entries in Mark’s book Fantastic Fishes: A Feast of…

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BART promotional leaflet

We have just had our first leaflet printed in readiness for the Festival of Nature in Bristol over the weekend of 15th – 16th June. We will be there on both days talking about what BART does and hopefully making lots of friends and contacts. We are also helping to promote the Catchment Management Plan…

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Payments For Ecosystem Services Project

BART are working in partnership with the world renowned wetlands expert, Rob McInnes, researchers from Bath Spa University and a local environmental consultancy called Engain, on a project to implement a cost-effective, natural wetland based system for preventing nutrient pollution from entering the Tortworth Brook from sewage treatment works and farm run off. The project…

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Walking in the Rain

The weather does not stop BART and the EA looking for opportunities to improve our rivers , even when it rains. And there was another very wet person behind the camera! This damp scene was taken halfway through a day organised by BART to show EA staff some river works which had been completed by…

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Volunteering as a group!

Bart is really excited at the progress being made towards setting up a Volunteers group with Lackham College in Wiltshire. Dr Mark Everard, Dr Sid Jevons and Ian Mock presented to the students about the work of BART and also about Habitats for Freshwater Fish recently and were delighted by the enthusiastic response. Plans are…

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Another Avon Roach Project

Thanks to the Severn Rivers Trust BART were lucky enough to acquire eight roach spawning boards recently in readiness for this seasons spawning. We hope that we can encourage the roach to spawn as successfully as the very famous Avon Roach Project on the Hampshire Avon. We will not be taking the spawning boards out…

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