Conservation Corner

vital

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
431
Location
South of England
I think you have a few too many zero's
I didn't actually write it out in zeros, but your comment caused me to look it up, thus: one thousand million was known as the short scale [10 to the power of 9] and was what American English used, while us English used one million million [ten to the twelfth power] BUT in 1974 the UK switched over to the short scale! Nobody told me back then, so now its the same both sides of the pond. The word gets flipped about without much clarity, a bit like HS2 itself! The kinds of figures being used suggest every man, woman, and child is going to be paying for HS2 for quite some time. I still believe a national pipeline, with distribution and treatment centres, would have provided benefits for citizens long after high speed rail links become obsolete.
 

John Bailey

Well-known member
Feature Writer
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Messages
56
Unaddressed.jpg

So many unaddressed problems... where has the river gone?

Conservation Corner: Petition Madness

I’m like very many anglers I speak to who agree that Fishing Breaks send the one and only newsletter that isn’t binned on sight. Simon Cooper manages to keep them fresh, relevant, and thought provoking, and if you don’t get them, you perhaps should. Today, 4th June, was one of his best. Like Simon, I’d been approached this week to sign a petition (yet another one) to give the EA more money and powers. “What?”, I cried. Joking surely? No bloody way! Now, ten minutes ago, Simon backs me up in thinking the only good EA is a disbanded EA. My thoughts lie squarely with Wild Trout Trust chief executive Nick Measham when he wrote “The EA turned 25 years old, but our rivers won’t be celebrating”.

More money for the EA? I’ve been and made a cup of coffee, and in the time I have taken to drink it I have come up with these relatively recent examples of how the EA fisheries department have wasted oodles of the stuff back in my East Anglian homeland.

Outfall.jpg

JB off to check a suspicious outfall…

The upper Wensum. The EA enters into a partnership with a landowner to renovate two miles of river. The landowner does one mile, the EA the other. The jobs look equally professional at the finish. The EA spend £180k plus, the landowner, using his own men, less than £10k.

A mid-Wensum mill pool. Historically, weed is removed by hand from a sill there (a ten minute job at most for one man), until it is deemed too dangerous… my mates and I have fished from that sill all our lives without a smidgen of a problem. A bizarre, unfolding electric hoist arrangement is designed and installed over a period of months. The cost is astronomical. Three men have to be on site to use it. EA workers have to go on a regular training course for safety reasons. Privately, the EA has admitted the new contraption poses more dangers than it has solved.

Gravels are to be reinstated on the lower Wensum at Taverham. The farmer reports that four men spend three weeks on site erecting a toilet, posts, tape and warning signs before a stone is laid. He reckons two of his men could have carried these duties out in an afternoon.

ORSU.jpg

Spot the ORSU!! A good idea left to go to ruin

A few years back, Off River Spawning Units (ORSUs) were the big thing. The EA, at humongous expense, creates these at Swanton Morley on the mid-Wensum. After two years these were silted up and useless, and today, perhaps six years after the event, you can’t even see where a single penny of the money went.

Disabled fishing platforms on the Wensum at Worthing seemed a good, even if very expensive, idea. A few years on they are collapsed, and so overgrown most can’t even be found any more. In fact, they are a positive danger to anyone now walking the bank.

Platform.jpg

One of the best of the platforms… pity it is nowhere near the river

More powers??? Are they not massively over-officious enough already? A friend wanted to dig a small (less than an acre) pond on some scrub on his land. No flora or fauna of any worth. No flooding risk. But no EA permission, and they swarmed like flies over it. The pond had to be filled in to a maximum depth of a foot or so, and the spoil spread for acres around to an exact depth of two inches. It’s a bog again the last time I saw it. What power they have is either unused or abused, a bizarre mix of bullying and timidity.

Calverton.jpg

JB with the Calverton Fish Farm… much well meaning intent here, but small barbel get hammered by predators

An infamous meeting of the Wensum Working Group. The EA report that recent barbel stockings with small barbel have failed, proving the river is no longer a fit habitat. Anglers present report that virtually all the introduced barbel were eaten by cormorants, and they have the electronic tags taken from cormorant roosts to prove it. Once again, the EA refuse to admit there is a problem and that the cormorant issue exists. AND YET, at a fishery meeting at Taverham Mill, EA officials float the idea of building an unbroken network of estuarial lagoons from Lincolnshire to Essex, filling these with fish, and thereby waylaying incoming cormorants from Europe and keeping them there over the winter. Do we really want to give these clowns more money as suggested?

Board.jpg

Why pay for an information board in the middle of nowhere?

Coffee finished, rant over, but the fact remains if I sat down and complied a complete list of EA cock-ups I alone have witnessed, you’d be reading a very long time. Simon Cooper calls for a ‘Pure Rivers Authority’ or similar, in place of the EA, but would we be saddled with the same boffins, the same crackpot ideas, and the same flagrant disregard for how money is squandered?

I will say I have friends (perhaps not now) who work for the Agency, and who are sensible, and right thinking, and want to do good. Trouble is, they are in the minority and have neither the power nor influence to get this juggernaut back on track. All sensible commentators agree the system is broken, and perhaps this should be our starting point, rather than campaigning for more money to go after bad?

NicerWork.jpg

Nicer work, but hugely time-consuming and lasts a comparatively short time
 

kingf000

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2016
Messages
2,229
I wonder how much this is down to the EA? The EA suffers from fluctuations in its budget and so probably sub-contracts a lot of work. How much of this is down tot he sub-contractors? Also the main requirement from the governments is for the EA to prevent floods. However, the EA has little control over why the floods happen in the first place, all they can do is to reduce flood risk by dredging, removing obstacles and raising the height of the banks, so a deep sided, straight, featureless river with low water level ( high water abstraction) is what the governments wants.
 
Last edited:

vital

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2009
Messages
431
Location
South of England
View attachment 39916
So many unaddressed problems... where has the river gone?

Conservation Corner: Petition Madness

I’m like very many anglers I speak to who agree that Fishing Breaks send the one and only newsletter that isn’t binned on sight. Simon Cooper manages to keep them fresh, relevant, and thought provoking, and if you don’t get them, you perhaps should. Today, 4th June, was one of his best. Like Simon, I’d been approached this week to sign a petition (yet another one) to give the EA more money and powers. “What?”, I cried. Joking surely? No bloody way! Now, ten minutes ago, Simon backs me up in thinking the only good EA is a disbanded EA. My thoughts lie squarely with Wild Trout Trust chief executive Nick Measham when he wrote “The EA turned 25 years old, but our rivers won’t be celebrating”.

More money for the EA? I’ve been and made a cup of coffee, and in the time I have taken to drink it I have come up with these relatively recent examples of how the EA fisheries department have wasted oodles of the stuff back in my East Anglian homeland.

View attachment 39917
JB off to check a suspicious outfall…

The upper Wensum. The EA enters into a partnership with a landowner to renovate two miles of river. The landowner does one mile, the EA the other. The jobs look equally professional at the finish. The EA spend £180k plus, the landowner, using his own men, less than £10k.

A mid-Wensum mill pool. Historically, weed is removed by hand from a sill there (a ten minute job at most for one man), until it is deemed too dangerous… my mates and I have fished from that sill all our lives without a smidgen of a problem. A bizarre, unfolding electric hoist arrangement is designed and installed over a period of months. The cost is astronomical. Three men have to be on site to use it. EA workers have to go on a regular training course for safety reasons. Privately, the EA has admitted the new contraption poses more dangers than it has solved.

Gravels are to be reinstated on the lower Wensum at Taverham. The farmer reports that four men spend three weeks on site erecting a toilet, posts, tape and warning signs before a stone is laid. He reckons two of his men could have carried these duties out in an afternoon.

View attachment 39918
Spot the ORSU!! A good idea left to go to ruin

A few years back, Off River Spawning Units (ORSUs) were the big thing. The EA, at humongous expense, creates these at Swanton Morley on the mid-Wensum. After two years these were silted up and useless, and today, perhaps six years after the event, you can’t even see where a single penny of the money went.

Disabled fishing platforms on the Wensum at Worthing seemed a good, even if very expensive, idea. A few years on they are collapsed, and so overgrown most can’t even be found any more. In fact, they are a positive danger to anyone now walking the bank.

View attachment 39919
One of the best of the platforms… pity it is nowhere near the river

More powers??? Are they not massively over-officious enough already? A friend wanted to dig a small (less than an acre) pond on some scrub on his land. No flora or fauna of any worth. No flooding risk. But no EA permission, and they swarmed like flies over it. The pond had to be filled in to a maximum depth of a foot or so, and the spoil spread for acres around to an exact depth of two inches. It’s a bog again the last time I saw it. What power they have is either unused or abused, a bizarre mix of bullying and timidity.

View attachment 39920
JB with the Calverton Fish Farm… much well meaning intent here, but small barbel get hammered by predators

An infamous meeting of the Wensum Working Group. The EA report that recent barbel stockings with small barbel have failed, proving the river is no longer a fit habitat. Anglers present report that virtually all the introduced barbel were eaten by cormorants, and they have the electronic tags taken from cormorant roosts to prove it. Once again, the EA refuse to admit there is a problem and that the cormorant issue exists. AND YET, at a fishery meeting at Taverham Mill, EA officials float the idea of building an unbroken network of estuarial lagoons from Lincolnshire to Essex, filling these with fish, and thereby waylaying incoming cormorants from Europe and keeping them there over the winter. Do we really want to give these clowns more money as suggested?

View attachment 39921
Why pay for an information board in the middle of nowhere?

Coffee finished, rant over, but the fact remains if I sat down and complied a complete list of EA cock-ups I alone have witnessed, you’d be reading a very long time. Simon Cooper calls for a ‘Pure Rivers Authority’ or similar, in place of the EA, but would we be saddled with the same boffins, the same crackpot ideas, and the same flagrant disregard for how money is squandered?

I will say I have friends (perhaps not now) who work for the Agency, and who are sensible, and right thinking, and want to do good. Trouble is, they are in the minority and have neither the power nor influence to get this juggernaut back on track. All sensible commentators agree the system is broken, and perhaps this should be our starting point, rather than campaigning for more money to go after bad?

View attachment 39922
Nicer work, but hugely time-consuming and lasts a comparatively short time
Nicely written piece. Have to say I welcome Mr Cooper's regular epistles too, although I may not agree with everything he says.
Is it just me, or does it seem that the word 'sustainability' is just not in the EA's dictionary, despite it being a political buzz-word for more than ten years? the darker side of my mind is now pondering whether the EA and the self-centred politicos have already decided our waterways just aren't actually sustainable, so they'll just keep spending their budget while they are still employed, and everything else can go to hell in a handcart?
 

JohnH

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
4,563
Location
Near Southampton
Update from the sunny South. Both the relevant local authorities have approved Portsmouth Water's plan for Havant Thicket reservoir. One of the two plans I mentioned upthread intended to ease the pressure on the Test and Itchen caused by abstraction. The reservoir will be fed by the Bedhampton Spring at the foot of the South Downs, which has never been known to run dry. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-57425437
 

BobP

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
9,395
Location
Wiltshire
John Bailey is scathing about the EA's work on our rivers, but what he conveniently chooses to ignore or mention is that when the EA carries out a project on a river or stillwater on behalf of a landowner or angling club it is almost always a partnership in which the landowner or club contributes, and secondly, on completion of the project it is handed over to the landowner or club for them to maintain. That is what they sign up to when the project is agreed in the first place. I write from personal experience here.

So, Mr. Bailey, if that angling club on the Wensum has neglected the angling platforms then it is them you need to go and kick in the nuts not the EA. Better still, get your toolbox out and go and fix it yourself - assuming you are capable of course.
 
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