Dove Catchment Partnership | Summer 2021
Dove Catchment Partnership Newsletter
Summer 2021
In this Newsletter

  • Dove Cliff Weir Work
  • Denstone Meadow
  • Upstream Thinking: Himalayan Balsam Removal
  • Climate emergency and biodiversity crisis - short animation
  • Crayfish Translocation in the South West Peak Continues during Complex Times
  • 2021 Upcoming Works...
  • Picknall Brook Biodiversity Enhancement Project
  • Trees on the Dove
  • Endon Natural Flood Management
  • Dove Catchment Demonstration Farm
  • Churnet Valley Farmers Group busy as ever
  • White Peak Farmers next steps
  • Salmon Spawning on the Dove
  • Henmore Brook Weir Baffles
  • Environmental and biodiversity funding available for farmers in the Midlands
Hello from Tina

What a busy year partners and wildlife have had, thanks partly to all the movement restrictions, not just in the Dove Catchment but all over the World. There have been recorded sightings of fallow deer grazing lawns in front of a housing estate in Harold Hill in London, a herd of goats taking over a deserted city centre in Llandudno, wild boar roaming streets in Spain and crystal-clear water (& fish) returning to the canals in Venice - a few positives to take from giving nature space.

March 2020 saw the ‘Whole of the Dove Day’ event take place (1 week before national lockdown) the event was a huge success and we had the opportunity to hear about all the good work that partners have been doing and most importantly gather peoples thoughts on where the Dove CP should go next. You can view some of the presentations HERE

I hope you enjoy catching up on partners work on the Dove and its tributaries and thank you to everyone who sent in an article, please keep them coming! Send just 80 words and a picture to: tina@trentriverstrust.org and I'll store them up for next time.
Dove Cliff weir works
Works to physically remove the Dove Cliff weir started in early December 2020, with the archaeologists also starting their recording of the section of the weir being removed. Poor weather conditions in January and February this year led to the works being suspended until the conditions improved. Works recommenced on 1 March 2021, following a good dry spell and lower water levels, allowing the contractors to repair the downstream cofferdam that had been partially damaged during the floods. The cofferdam is in place to keep the working area dry whilst the main weir is being removed.
Archaeology
During the weir removal process a cross-section of the historic weir is being recorded by archaeologists. The archaeology work on site is due to be completed in March 2021, with the reports and analysis provided later this year.
Labyrinth weir and mill fleam
The works on the labyrinth weir are being completed in tandem with the main weir works. The flow will continue to be maintained down the mill fleam while the main weir is isolated from the river.
Project timeline
The current construction programme is scheduled to be completed in June 2021, although all activities on the project are weather dependent. With health and safety being a priority, no risks will be taken with working in unsafe conditions.
Further information
We have an online information page about this project that is updated regularly

Also look out for #Dovecliff updates on our twitter feed too @EnvAgencyMids.
Denstone Meadow

Sometimes you just have to take the long-term view of things! Denstone Meadow (a little field next to the Churnet which was crowd funded and bought for the parish) should have been open by now but months of rain, floods and Covid have delayed the project. Has the wildlife been affected?! No, more flowers have bloomed than in living memory and more insects and birds are visiting (kingfishers and an egret are exciting sights). The river and meadow continue to delight the senses – each season has its own special beauty. Plus – there is always next year! Our plans are progressing and hopefully, in the Spring, more people will be able to experience and enjoy this amazing place.
Upstream Thinking: Himalayan Balsam Removal

South West Peak staff have been mapping and removing Himalayan balsam from sites in the Dove catchment as part of our Upstream Thinking project, which is funded by a Water Environment Grant. Staff walked over 18 km during multiple work days, pulled out over 11,000 plants and cut twice as many!

Even one balsam plant can produce 800 seeds so the aim is to find and remove every plant before it seeds. Searching for the plants meant continually reconsidering our risk assessments as we came across new challenges. At one site it was impossible to walk in the stream due to thick silt, which was unfortunate as that meant spending 2 hours walking through nettles, thistles and cleavers. Then there are fences, steep banks and the occasional rubbish heap to contend with.

The best methods of removal are pulling or cutting but that’s not quite enough to eradicate this balsam. You have to make sure you pull up the roots or at least cut it below the lowest node. Cut and pulled Himalayan balsam can be left spread out on the ground, and preferably crushed. It should only be placed in a heap if it can be covered. In open compost heaps the plants will be damp enough to sprout roots and regrow.

Volunteer Himalayan Balsam Events
Himalayan Balsam – volunteers needed
Volunteers are needed to take on an area where Himalayan balsam has been seen before. The site will need visiting every 2 to 4 weeks between June and September and all balsam pulled each visit. The sites are in and around Meerbrook and Onecote.

Further details for these events contact: Helen Betts:07970237094 - Helen.betts@peakdistrict.gov.uk or SWP@peakdistrict.gov.uk
Above is a short animation on the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis
Crayfish Translocation in the South West Peak Continues during Complex Times

As part of the South West Peak Crayfish in Crisis project, led by Staffordshire Wildlife trust and with funding from the Environment Agency and NLHF, endangered white-clawed crayfish were translocated from their home in Cannock Chase to two new ARK sites in the South West Peak at the end of September. A small number of fortunate volunteers and the three SWPLP apprentices got to go along and lend a hand. 225 native crayfish were collected from a stream by carefully picking up bricks and woody debris using hand searching and hand nets. The crayfish were health checked and measured and then transported to their new home in the South West Peak where they were released. Additional crayfish were also added to boost the new populations at ARK sites where individuals were translocated in 2018 and 2019. The above photo shows the South West Peak Apprentices hard at work collecting white-clawed crayfish for translocation.

It is hoped that these crayfish will start new breeding populations that will eventually move downstream into new parts of the river.

To learn more about the Crayfish in Crisis project head over to the project page HERE
2021 Upcoming Works
Hedge restoration is in the works in the South West Peak at a proposed site (see photo on the right) that will help slow the flow of water into the Churnet. The proposed hedge restoration site currently has an existing hedge in place, but this needs almost total replanting. The proposed hedge is approximately 200m in length and will restore a historic hedgeline to slow overland flow into the Dove headwaters.

For updates on these works follow the South West Peak Facebook and Twitter feeds and you can also check up on us via our News page.


Picknall Brook Biodiversity Enhancement Project

Trent Rivers Trust are working with landowners in the catchment of Picknall Brook, Uttoxeter looking at ways to improve, protect and enhance the biodiversity value of the Brook in and around Bramshall Park.
There are many options to choose from:

  • Create new habitats and wildlife refuges.
  • Increase natural processes by identifying areas along the water corridors that would promote the breakdown of pollution and aeration of the water, thus improving water quality
  • Creating additional habitat for wildlife to seek refuge in the event of a pollution incident
  • Use unproductive land to create new wetland areas bringing floodwater out of the channel and allow pollution/soils/silts/solids to settle in the floodplain,
  • Improve habitats on farms by working with landowners/farmers

But the small pot of funding we have will only allow us to complete a few and at this early stage we are unsure as to which option will best fit. Keep watching this space for updates. 
The photo above shows the poor water quality at Bramshall Park
Trees On the Dove

Trent Rivers Trust are working with landowners along the River Dove between Uttoxeter and its confluence with the Trent to improve the tree cover along the banks of the river. Currently there is very little tree cover which is making the river particularly vulnerable to warming of waters through little natural resilience form tree shading. As a recovering Salmonid river this is particularly crucial to long term viability of fish species that are sensitive to temperature increases such as Salmon and Trout.

TRT are working with the landowners to identify a mutual agreement for the planting proposals and help with applying for grant funding.
Endon Natural Flood Management Project

Trent Rivers Trust are working with Staffordshire County Council and Landowners looking at the feasibility of combining traditional hard engineering works in the village with Natural Flood Management measures in the upstream catchment which will afford protection to residential and commercial properties.
Dove Catchment Demonstration Farm

The hunt is on for the Dove Catchment's own demonstration farm that Trent Rivers Trust can work with to help illustrate the importance of the Partnership Development Process. The minimum criteria for the farm is that the farmer/landowner is proper well confused by all the subsidy changes and the plethora of environmental schemes/ has livestock plus arable (willing to work with neighbours/farming friends) if one is grass and one arable) and is open and honest about what they want for the future of their farm and I nearly forgot possibly as a stretch of river which maybe is fished. 

In return, TRT would like to offer professional handholding through the Rural Payments Agency’s minefield that is currently live and the opportunity to share the experiences with other likeminded farmers.
Any suggestions of sites then please email tina@trentriverstrust.org. 
Churnet Valley Farmers Group busy as ever...
Churnet Valley Farmers are working with local farmers to develop farm water and soil plans helping farmers to assess the health of their soils and risks of erosion or runoff. Work is being planned for the summer and autumn to employ decompaction methods such as sward slitting and lifting to reduce risk of runoff increase crop yields and improve water filtration. They are also creating reedbeds to help clean water before it enters watercourses and working with farms in the Alders Brook, Coombes Brook and Leek brook sub-catchments.
White Peak Farmers next steps...

Funding from the EA is being used to model and design a wetland creation project on the River Dove at Middle Mayfield. Work is planned to begin in 2021 through Severn-Trent’s Boost for Biodiversity grant to create new channels to rewet areas, create a scrape and ponds, as well as scalloping an existing ditch to re-naturalise its course. Future work will involve restoring 5 fields to species-rich floodplain meadows.
Environmental and biodiversity funding available for farmers in the Midlands

The annual Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS) has been relaunched until 31 January 2022 – providing a greater window of support to farmers.  This extended window is now offering match funding of up to £10,000 for farm improvements that address water quality issues.

This major extension to the STEPS application window will give farmers the flexibility to choose a time to suit them to apply and carry out the funded work.

The uncertainty brought by Brexit, and the pressures presented by Covid-19. Therefore, for one year only, Severn Trent have decided to open STEPS applications up for longer. Successful applicants will then have a further 12 months to complete their work after funding is confirmed.

This match funding is available to farmers in priority catchments to address issues such as nitrates, pesticides and cryptosporidium reaching watercourses. A range of items are available from cover crops and pesticide washdown bays, to livestock fencing and covered handling areas.

For further details and to find out if you are in a priority catchment visit: www.stwater.co.uk/steps
Henmore Brook Weir Baffles

Baffles have been fitted to gauging weir on Henmore Brook, Ashbourne to provide easement for fish passage. This is one of the mitigation measures identified for the water body for the Water Framework Directive. This work was done by EA Field Team to a design from EA national fisheries team. You can see the laminar flow over the weir and the difference the baffles make creating flow variation to attract fish, giving them a flow to kick up and resting areas between the baffles.