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Dear Supporters of the Tees Rivers Trust,

Welcome to our Summer newsletter highlighting just some of the activities that we undertake to ensure that the River Tees remains beautiful and majestic. This newsletter concentrates on the work carried out with the public.  However, other work to improve the river and its catchment area goes on quietly every day.

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Thank you for your continued support.

Kind regards

Ben Lamb
Trust Manager
The Tees Rivers Trust

The Tees River Trust Newsletter Summer 2017

 
The Tees Rivers Trust has been established to protect and enhance the environment of the River Tees and its catchment and to encourage public understanding and community involvement.
 
The specific purposes of the Trust are to protect, conserve, rehabilitate and improve the river, feeder streams, water courses, the estuary and adjacent coastal areas. We also educate, running workshops with the public, in schools, advising local authorities and government agencies.
Tees Valley Nature Partnership 

Our Nature: Your Tees Partnerships Conference 2017
In July, we hosted an annual conference to bring partners together, celebrate what is already happening and shape the focus of the coming year for the partnership.  This year we teamed up with Your Tees Catchment Partnership to host a joint ‘partnerships’ event at Preston Park Museum and over 90 people attended the day. The event was a mixture of presentations, varied workshops, networking, yummy food (the cream scones are particularly good) and even a spot of Tai Chi and meditation!
Your Tees Catchment Partnership (YTCP) embeds collaborative working at a river catchment scale to deliver cross cutting improvements to our water environments. The essence of YTCP is to drive cost-effective practical delivery on the ground, resulting in multiple benefits including improvements to water quality, enhanced biodiversity, reduced flood risk, resilience to climate change and greater community engagement with our local river.

Volunteers, members and staff from any of the partnership organisations are welcome to attend so we hope to see some of you next year at conference 2018!

QUOTES FROM THE DAY:

“This has been a very good foundation start for TVNP to provide the opportunity for all partners to network & look to create new opportunities”

“Great venue & hospitality. Lovely opportunity to catch up with people…”

“Excellent conference. Extremely interesting and diverse”

“Full of information – well done”

“Great spread. Loved Tai Chi demo …”

“Thank you very much. I enjoyed it and I learnt a lot”

“Good mix of in-put and opportunity to contribute”

“Especially enjoyed the PechaKucha, really interesting topics, peatland, tourism in nature was very engaging and inspiring! All round excellent”

“Very happy with the whole day – wish I could have split myself in two & attended other sessions. Good range of content looking at natural heritage from a range of viewpoints”

“Enjoyable & informative day – well done to everyone involved in organising the day”

RiverLAB
 
On a hot day, what could be better than splashing about in the river hunting for the tiniest underwater inhabitants, and then relaxing on the riverbank to examine what you've found more closely. the Year 4's from St Augustine's in Coulby Newham were so immersed in the mornings RiverLAB activities at Marton West Beck, that the morning flew by. The children then swapped their biologist hats to become artists for the afternoon, designing intricate collagraphs of the animals they'd found including riverbed algae and fascinating phytoplankton.
~ Sara
We were back at Marton West Beck the following week for river dipping, joined by Christine from River Tees Rediscovered this time. The Y4's from St Augustine's coped admirably with the rain, going on to produce some carefully constructed collagraphs back in school. Once the plates had been sealed we had a big printing session on Friday morning, inking the plates up with densely pigmented printing ink, and hand pressing them. The children produced some truly inspired results with thoughtful and imaginative use of colour blending. A wonderfully creative end to a week of RiverLAB
~ Sara
With continued support and funding from River Tees Rediscovered, RiverLAB will involve investigation of the historic timeline of becks, their potential and community aspirations, community engagement, training and volunteering. The scheme will focus on the smaller tributaries that enter the Tees along its course through the project area. Historically becks and rivers have been treated as sewers or a flood risk, yet people are always drawn to water. This scheme will encourage the communities along becks to take an active interest and pride in their local waterways.
Great Broughton Works
 
Since our last newsletter in May, Richard and James have been busy in Broughton Beck and have now completed spiling at eroding sections through the village. The spiling comprised birch brash bundles anchored in place by alder stakes. These have narrowed the channel slightly and the resulting voids have been backfilled with topsoil kindly donated to the project by local farmers Mr A Gloag and Mr A Stockdale who have worked with the Trust in the past.

We are happy to report that the spiling has already been subjected to a flood event and has held up superbly. It is also fantastic to see clean gravels and build-up of new gravels behind the flow deflectors. It’s amazing how quickly a river can start healing itself given a chance.

The next phase of the project is to improve migration through the beck past 7 weirs. Most of these were installed in 1978 following the great drought of ’76. A couple of the weirs have been simple and have simply required notching. However, there are 3 that are significant and required a different solution.
Richard put his mind to this conundrum and came up with a baffled fish easement which he constructed using oak sleepers, plastic baffles and heavy duty plastic board. The resulting pass sits really well in the beck and blends with the surroundings. Most importantly, it appears to be working for fish!
The Trust carried out some electric fishing in September 2013 which showed clearly that below the village there is a healthy population of fish, including brown trout, minnows, stoneloach and brook lamprey. However, through the village and between the weirs there was a marked difference in both species and abundance.

Shortly after the installation of the first pass and notching of the lower weir we looked again at the fish population through the village. A mix of brown trout, minnows bull heads, stone loach and 1 eel were caught. Further electric fishing will be carried out to monitor the effects of the works carried out in the co It was very encouraging to see minnows all the way through the village, it’s easy to forget these important fish, but they are a tasty snack for many other species!

We will be carrying out further surveys in the coming months and will also be working with the local primary school with the RiverLAB project.
Images clockwise from top left: Wild Brown Trout from Broughton Beck, James with Eel caught during electro fishing survey,  James in action!, Eels caught in Broughton Beck

Following on from working with The Friends of Fairy Dell Park, training Riverfly Monitors, at Marton West Beck, it seemed worth taking a closer look at the beck for a suitable site for RiverLAB with the local schools. A bit of scouting around revealed the perfect site, upstream of Fairy Dell, in the Marton West Beck Nature Reserve. 
We were lucky enough to have perfect weather too, for the Lingfield Primary School RiverLAB week just before Whitsun. The Year 6's found themselves completely absorbed in exploring their local river habitat and its inhabitants, going on to create beautiful food web collagraphs back at school including even the tiniest microscopic river-life, such as diatoms and desmids. 

Surprise find of the week was a small burrowing mayfly nymph, probably Ephemera Danica - easy to find in the upper Tees, but not so evident in the lower tributaries.

~ Sara

Himalayan Balsam Biological Control Field Studies on the River Tees

This year sees the first release of Himalayan balsam rust on the river Tees. Working with the international research group CABI, the Tees Rivers Trust has taken the first steps toward a biological control of this invasive non-native plant. The rust, which is a pathogenic fungus, is suspended in a liquid and sprayed on to the underside of the plant leaves. As the rust establishes itself, it should begin to spread, colonising other Himalayan plants and colonies and eventually become an important ally in the fight against Himalayan balsam.
Romaldkirk Rhododendron update
The before and after photos show what a difference to the local area the removal of over a hectare of Rhododendron ponticum has made.
It is now eighteen months since the project ended and over four years since we began the work. Local volunteers, staff from EE, Durham University and local businesses all helped to make the project such a success.  Allan Rayner, one of the local volunteers said; “It was hard work but a lot of fun. Now it's wonderful to see the natural vegetation recovering well.” Geoff King, a volunteer from Barnard Castle added; “It was great to be involved in a project that made such a noticeable difference to a local area. ‘We very much enjoyed working with a variety of volunteers, and made new friends in a healthy outdoor environment.” The site is being allowed to regenerate its flora naturally. We will be monitoring the site to make sure no Rhododendrons re-establish themselves.
We're hiring...
Fish for Tees Project Officer

 £21,500 - £23,500 pa
Paid • Part Time • Fixed Term Contract
Closing date: Thursday, 13 July 2017
 
The Tees Rivers Trust was established in 2009 to protect and improve the whole of the River Tees Catchment. We work closely with landowners, community groups and partners to deliver a wide range of innovative projects. We are now looking for a new part time staff member to join our team to head up the Fish For Tees project. If you have a passion for research, engagement and all things watery, we would love to hear from you...

Project Overview.
 
The River Tees Rediscovered Project is a five year Heritage Lottery Funded Landscape Partnership scheme running from 2014 – 2019.It is working to promote access to and enjoyment of the River through working in partnership with numerous stakeholders from Piercebridge to South Gare.  
The Fish for the Tees Project Officer will work alongside the Tees Rivers Trust and River Tees Rediscovered staff to deliver a project aimed at improving quality and understanding of the river Tees fishery.   

The River Tees is a recovering river yet it is under-valued as a resource and angling clubs are reporting ever declining numbers of members. Part of this project will be working with schools and angling clubs to give students an opportunity to learn about the water, fisheries and the skill of angling. The PO will also work with the Rivers Trusts Fisheries Initiative to develop a pilot fisheries strategy as a for-runner to a national scheme. 
 
The project will have a particular focus on European eel in the Tees and the PO will work with volunteers to develop and deliver a monitoring scheme to gain a better understanding of inward and outward migration of this species; identify suitable areas placement of low cost eel passes, and; help deliver an education programme to schools about the eel.  
Improving access to the river and improving the amenity of the riverbank are the final components of this job. The PO will improve access points to the river by creating beach areas in a currently heavily canalised section of the River Skerne. They will also co-ordinate local businesses, volunteer groups and Local Authorities for a bi-annual Tees-wide litter pick. This latter initiative will also raise awareness of the issues with plastics contamination in the marine environment.
 
 
If you are still interested, please send a CV with references and covering letter explaining how your skills fit the job and why you would like the post.

Please note: References will not be contacted without your prior permission.

For more information and a full job/person specification, please email benlamb@teesriverstrust.org

Interviews will be held on Friday 21st July in Darlington.
 
https://www.environmentjob.co.uk/adverts/64784-fish-for-tees-project-officer 
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Tees Rivers Trust · Clock Tower Lodge, South Park · Darlington, Durham DL1 5TG · United Kingdom

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