MP Greg Clark makes a splash at fish habitat improvement project

Nusrat Ghani
FIELD TRIP: Ben Lord, EA Catchment Co-ordinator for the Medway, Andrew Brough, EA Fisheries Officer, Keith Grose, DAAC Secretary, and DAAC Vice President Greg Clark, MP

The Dorset Arms Angling Club in Withyham – of which Mr Clark is Vice President – welcomed him to the tributary of the Upper Medway River on June 11 after they raised their concerns about the declining fish population and the potential connection it has with pollution in the water.

They found that the drop in numbers appears to be the result of changes to the river habitat. These include maintenance dredging, which has removed gravels needed by spawning fish, and barriers like weirs, which prevent the movement of fish searching for suitable spawning sites.

The Dorset Arms Angling Club, The Wild Trout Trust and the Environment Agency then carried out maintenance to river which saw around 100 tonnes of iron stone gravels deposited into the water and sections of tree trunks nailed to the riverbed to prevent the gravel being washed away.

The work also creates ripples and faster flowing waters, which fish like brown trout prefer.

Mr Clark said: “It was great to see how everyone has worked together to make these improvements to the Eridge Stream.

“The Environment Agency will be undertaking some surveys of both the fish and other river life to see what the impact has been – initial observations from the Environment Agency’s Fisheries Team is that they are already starting to see more wildlife in the stream, which is fantastic.”

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