Calcium carbonate?

splinters

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Cast your minds back please. Some years ago I read a very interesting piece about adding chalk or calcium carbonate or something similar to rivers to improve them for insect life. I seem to recall vaguely that it was by a relative of a forum member here. Any ideas who it was and where I can get some information on it? I am old enough to remember when the farmers got a grant to "sweeten" the fields with chalk. I'm convinced that our insects were bigger then. I found an old fly box of mine in the garage recently and my old large dark olives are on #12 hooks, these days we tie them on #14 and 16s.
Any information gratefully and greedily accepted.

S.
 

lepirate

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I may be wrong but I think there was a program some years back where lime was added to river headwaters somewhere in the U.K. It may have been Wales, the idea was to counteract acid rain/runoff and had some good results. Couldn't find the environment agency stuff but this link has some bearing. :)
 

wishiwasfishin

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Look at the wye and usk foundation website. Liming headwaters is a big part of their work. I think it's the Irfon currently they do it to.
You will also find evidence of the success of the method.
Dan

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maharg

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Up to my eyes in it!!!!
As already stated it was used mainly to counter the effects of acid rain. Loads of places in Dumfries and Galloway had to be treated. I believe Norway had a huge programme at work as well. Trying to clear the pollution carried on the SW from the "dirty old man of Europe" (UK) over to them.
 

splinters

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Thanks guys, sand liming seems to be close to what I read previously. I'm still looking for the original article so if anyone else out there remembers please jump in with a link or any information at all. Lepirate, I can't see your link I'm afraid.

regards all,
S.
 

lepirate

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wishiwasfishin

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I think the widespread planting of conifers around upper catchments was a factor for wuf

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BobP

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There was a series of articles by Frank Sawyer in Trout & Salmon back in the 1960's I believe. The title was "Is chalk all important to trout growth?"

He put chalk into the Avon - a chalkstream(!) - and claimed it improved invertebrate production and trout growth. Never seemed to enter his head that he already had a highly fertile environment.

There is a substance called "Siltex" which it is claimed speeds up the breakdown of organic matter - leaves and dead weeds etc - in a stillwater. Nothing has been definitely proved.

Bear in mind that if you have an acidic river/stillwater then turning it into an alkaline one overnight is going to do a whole lot more harm. If it ain't broke, don't mess with it is a very valuable saying when it comes to fisheries management.
 

bulbous arteriole

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There was a series of articles by Frank Sawyer in Trout & Salmon back in the 1960's I believe. The title was "Is chalk all important to trout growth?"

He put chalk into the Avon - a chalkstream(!) - and claimed it improved invertebrate production and trout growth. Never seemed to enter his head that he already had a highly fertile environment.

There is a substance called "Siltex" which it is claimed speeds up the breakdown of organic matter - leaves and dead weeds etc - in a stillwater. Nothing has been definitely proved.

Bear in mind that if you have an acidic river/stillwater then turning it into an alkaline one overnight is going to do a whole lot more harm. If it ain't broke, don't mess with it is a very valuable saying when it comes to fisheries management.

Yes, indeed.

I do indeed wonder what goes on in the minds of some fishery managers.

I recall reading about the lice outbreak on loch Fad, and the fishery manager stating that they were trying to do everything they can, and were ordering all visiting anglers to dip their nets on arrival.

The lice are endemic and bloom when the conditions are right, ie; temperature and food source, and it just coincides with the fact that when the water is warm there are fish being stocked.

Dipping nets will do nothing to prevent or curtail a lice infestation, for sure nets aren't the cause.

I don't understand why these fishery managers are not better advised?
 

splinters

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Thanks guys, this is a river running mostly over freestone with a little limestone. Thirty five years ago when I started fishing it you would have been shunned by all if you had taken a fish under a pound in weight. Now catching one over a pound is cause for celebration, photos and back slapping. Back then the club had two hundred members on seven miles of water and a waiting list, now there are less than a hundred members left. Back then lots of fish were killed, now it's almost all C&R but the river is still in decline. A few of the remaining members are trying to find some help for the water and we are researching every possibility we can. Thirty five years ago the local farmers limestoned their fields every year and got a grant to do so. When the grants stopped the liming stopped as well. Some of us think the start of the decline may have coincided with this so we are trying to research it. We aren't going to go out and start tipping bags of limestone in off the bridges immediately. The club has spent over three hundred thousand (mostly by grant) on in stream and bankside habitat improvements so far, this is just another possible step on the road.

S.
 
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Yes, indeed.

I do indeed wonder what goes on in the minds of some fishery managers.


I recall reading about the lice outbreak on loch Fad, and the fishery manager stating that they were trying to do everything they can, and were ordering all visiting anglers to dip their nets on arrival.

The lice are endemic and bloom when the conditions are right, ie; temperature and food source, and it just coincides with the fact that when the water is warm there are fish being stocked.

Dipping nets will do nothing to prevent or curtail a lice infestation, for sure nets aren't the cause.

I don't understand why these fishery managers are not better advised?

Apoligies to the OP but I feel to reply to the above in part.

I do agree dipping nets is far from curtailing any infection,although it will help some ,but not others,especially argulus.Some anglers do not dip the net long enough and in and out does nothing at all.

As I wrote the article myself to highlight how it is important to dry tackle off etc etc,it was not just about dipping nets.

I do believe it came in on nets and that is why as a fishery manager,only nets issued by the fishery are used,this way it helps deter any disease entering the water.

If what you say they are endemic,then why has not every water got the bloom of argulus as we all had the same conditions? Fish quality and health is taken very serious by myself and something which I have done a lot of research on to ensure a healthy fishery.

Im sure that those fishery managers who seek the advice and have applied it will be in a far better position with their fishery ,than if they just plod along and ignore it.
 

Paul G

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Might be worth having an Advisory Visit from the Wild Trout Trust to see if there are any obvious bottlenecks that might be limiting fish populations.

The vital (and usually most difficult) thing is to properly identify a problem and its causes - otherwise intervening will cause more harm than good. As an aside I found out this year that there is a word for this - "iatrogenic"; an action that is intended to be helpful but, instead, causes harm. Very useful word and one that applies to all spheres of human activity! :) :) :) ...from HRT to Quantitative Easing to dredging to taking kids tonsils out...

One of this year's entries to the WTT conservation awards was a quite novel approach to countering acidification on a salmon headwater stream (High Cree). This is in a catchment where all of the "buffering" capacity of the soils has been exhausted due to acid rainfall. In other words, over time, all of the chemical composition within the soil that would normally neutralise acidity had been used up by acidic rain falling over prolonged periods of time. So, whilst the catchment was always a slightly acidic environment; there would have been far fewer real flushes of highly acidic water (i.e. below pH 5) prior to problems with, human-generated, prolonged acid rain. Today there are many more frequent dips into those very acidic conditions that will zap salmon/trout eggs and other things.

The approach that Galloway Fisheries Trust have taken is to add a mixture of lime chippings and normal river gravel to areas that they predict can be eroded and redistributed - so that they accumulate as spawning gravel mounds. They do not want to artificially raise pH to an unnatural level, but they do want to create the capacity for some of the spawning gravel chips to absorb the worst acidic flushes and keep the pH from dipping below 5.

Early results from measurements of proportions of eggs hatching within individual cages buried in these lightly modified spawning gravels indicate that hatching and survival is improved by this "light touch" limestone chip addition compared to existing gravel spawning beds. This is a highly targeted approach to solving a well-defined problem.

Going back to the original topic, there are so many things that can influence both the numbers and size of trout in a river - and these will typically all interact with each other as well. Consequently, it is quite a task to pull out the most important impacts - and some of those impacts will either take a long time and a lot of effort to tackle; or might be something as massive as climate change that we can only hope to ameliorate rather than reverse.

On the other hand, you might be fortunate and find one or two really obvious "smoking guns" that can be tackled fairly readily. It is in these latter cases that the free help from the WTT can be very effective. email me on pgaskell@wildtrout.org if you want more details (and note that there is no "dot" between the "p" and the "gaskell" in the email address :) )
 
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splinters

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Feel free to jump in Kevin, my signature at the bottom sums up my thoughts on this. As regards dipping nets and disinfecting tackle, I keep two pairs of waders and wading boots. One pair is for the river, the other is for the zebra mussel infested waters I fish in Fermanagh. Will keeping them separate prevent other waters from being infected? Of course not, but it won't be me who moves them about. When moving a boat from Lough Erne to Melvin there is a requirement to hot power wash your hull and keep the receipt to prove it. I do this but before I do I wash it with an oxalic acid hull cleaner. This kills zebra mussels and other little hitch hikers dead on contact. Belt and braces, as I don't trust commercial washers to be hot enough. I think in the end the mussels will get into Melvin, but my conscience will be clear. If everyone kept their conscience clear and took just a little bit more trouble, these things would not happen. Endemic just means native or regularly found in the area, it doesn't mean occurring in every water. On our rivers some idiots have introduced Gammarus Pulex. In England this is a useful species, over here a nasty invasive almost wiping out our native gammarus duebeni celticus. It's having a big effect on the ephemerids as well. And once they are in you won't get them out again. Anglers should do everthing they can to ensure bio security. Keep up the good work.

Paul, WTT have already been over, this is just another line of research. Don't worry we will explore the effects thoroughly before committing to anything. Very early stages at the moment.

Thanks everyone,
S.
 

aenoon

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The approach that Galloway Fisheries Trust have taken is to add a mixture of lime chippings and normal river gravel to areas that they predict can be eroded and redistributed - so that they accumulate as spawning gravel mounds. They do not want to artificially raise pH to an unnatural level, but they do want to create the capacity for some of the spawning gravel chips to absorb the worst acidic flushes and keep the pH from dipping below 5.

not only that, but they have limed the catchment of some of the headwaters within their area.
full report, and pictures here.

Recent news on Galloway Fisheries Trust work

regards
bert
 

wynne

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I may be wrong but I think there was a program some years back where lime was added to river headwaters somewhere in the U.K. It may have been Wales, the idea was to counteract acid rain/runoff and had some good results. Couldn't find the environment agency stuff but this link has some bearing. :)

The location was Llyn Brianne in the Towy Valley just above Rhandirmwyn - the plan was to 'sweeten' the water because of peat water & forestry run off's going into the reservoir.
From what I recall they dumped tonnes of lime into the water to improve the ph, but I believe that the water is still fishless - they tried stocking at various stages, all to no avail - unless things have improved over the last few years.
 

oldhooker

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The location was Llyn Brianne in the Towy Valley just above Rhandirmwyn - the plan was to 'sweeten' the water because of peat water & forestry run off's going into the reservoir.
From what I recall they dumped tonnes of lime into the water to improve the ph, but I believe that the water is still fishless - they tried stocking at various stages, all to no avail - unless things have improved over the last few years.
I think it was the feeder streams of Clywedog that were limed to counter the high acidity. Nothing could live in the water it was so acidic
 

oldhooker

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A bit of an insult to poor old Frank Sawyer. He didnt have a fertile environment to begin with. The carrier streams were well silted up and the insect and crustacean populations were poor. Consequently the trout were small. After he improved the carrier streams and the water quality by the addition of chalk the river improved massively with a healthy habitat for increased insect and shrimp populations. The benefit ultimately for those priveleged enough to fish there was a increase in both the size and number of fish. This is well documented
 
G

guest54

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Wow this is an old thread. Liming for PH buffering is now well understood to have a short term effect.
It is the watershed that is treated, not the streams, it needs to be applied annually to have any effect and in such huge quantities that it is just not a financially viable option for raising the PH of streams/rivers.
 

easker1

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when the liming was done in Galloway ( Loch Doon I believe) it was done at the rate of 1 ton /acre to reduce the Acidity,our club in the highlands was advised by a fishery scientist to sprinkle small amounts of growmore in the small streams over a long period and monitor the results, we still have the growmore,
easker1
 

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