The Barbel Society (BS), Environment Agency (EA) and Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust (WCSRT) are pleased to announce details of the latest habitat improvement projects completed as part of a continuing partnership which plans to improve habitat for fish fry and other wildlife on the Hampshire Avon.

Using funding provided by the EA and BS, and technical and logistical support from WCSRT, ten log deflectors and five fry bays were constructed at a site near Fordingbridge, which will improve diversity of flow and create refuges for fish fry of all species, as well as connecting hundreds of metres of water meadow ditches to the main river. Live willow was also planted to create overhead and instream cover.

An old silted flight pond, within an old oxbow area, upstream of Ringwood, has been enlarged and connected to the river via a ditch, creating a large backwater which will again be an important refuge for fish fry of all species, as well as important plants, invertebrates and other wildlife.

Pete Reading, Conservation Officer for the Barbel Society said; “We are delighted with the positive results of our continuing partnership with the EA and WCSRT, and also with local landowners, and can see huge benefits for fish and other wildlife from these restoration measures”

Richard Battersby, Fisheries Team Leader for the Environment Agency said; “This is one of a number of projects we have delivered in partnership across the Wessex Area which has benefitted both fish and their habitat. Funding has been and is available through our Fisheries Improvement Programme which is directly funded by rod licence holders through the purchase of their EA rod licence. I would urge any interested clubs or groups who have any projects in mind to contact us”

Leanne Sargeant, Hampshire Avon Catchment Officer for the Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust said; “Surveys this summer of similar projects undertaken last year show excellent results. Good numbers, of a range of species, of fish fry are using the bays created along the Avon to take advantage of the shallower, warmer water to develop. We are really pleased to be able to deliver these projects with our partners that are involved in the wildlife improvements along the Avon valley.”

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lifelands backwater