Salmon have given the ultimate seal of approval to Dorchester’s recently enhanced Mill Stream, as they returned to the River Frome for the annual winter spawning. This month’s survey of salmon ‘redds’ or nest sites found they had more than doubled in the 450m stretch where work was carried out last summer by Dorset Wildlife Trust.
Fantastic news for local fish populations
Annual surveys of The Frome had previously found only 3 redds in one part of The Mill Stream, a man-made tributary whose unnaturally wide, straight-sided channel and silt-laden gravel bed had not been suitable for the fish to make their characteristic gravel nests. Last summer, low level shelves (or berms) were used to narrow the wide sections, allowing the river to create cleaner gravels, pools and shallow riffles to accommodate spawning adults, and hiding places for the growing juvenile fish.
Sarah Williams, Dorset Wild Rivers Officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “This is fantastic news for the local fish populations; although the salmon redds are easier to spot, there is a good number of brown trout spawning sites too. Due to low water levels this winter, large fish are easier to see and you should be able to spot the salmon ‘redds’, which are about 2 metres wide and 4 to 6 metres long, but it is important that people don’t wade into the river as this could damage the eggs. Salmon and trout cannot be caught in the winter months and this is to allow them to breed.”
An epic journey
The adult salmon return to the Frome from their feeding grounds in the North Sea and as far away as Greenland, finally reaching their home river between November and early January after an epic journey without feeding. They then have to make their way upstream and find clean gravels where the female can lay the eggs, fertilised by the male and then cover them with a protective mound of gravel. The eggs will hatch in the spring.
The Dorchester Mill Stream Enhancement Scheme, a Dorset Wild Rivers project, is supported by SITA Trust’s Enriching Nature Programme through the Landfill Communities Fund and also by the Environment Agency, The Big Lottery Fund, the Wild Trout Trust and many charitable trusts. Dorset Wild Rivers is supported by Wessex Water and The Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
For more information visit the Dorset Wild Rivers page or ring 01305 264620.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sarah Williams at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
The Dorset Wild Rivers Project, led by Dorset Wildlife Trust, is working to restore important chalk stream habitat across much of the county, including the Frome and Piddle Valleys and the chalk stream tributaries of the Stour, Allen, Tarrant and North Winterborne. www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/dorsetwildrivers It is funded by Wessex Water and the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Partners in the project include Purbeck Heritage Committee, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), Dorset Biodiversity Partnership, Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Queen Mary University of London, Environment Agency and Natural England.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
For information on how to apply for funding from SITA Trust call (01454) 262910 or visit www.sitatrust.org.uk
For media enquiries about SITA Trust please contact Jools Granville, Communications Manager on 01454 262940 mobile 07870 253048 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- SITA Trust is an independent environmental funding body set up in 1997 to provide funding through the Landfill Communities Fund. To date SITA Trust has supported more than 3000 projects to a combined value of over £85 million.
- SITA Trust funding enhances communities in England, Scotland and Wales by supporting community driven projects to improve vital public recreation facilities such as village halls, community centres, sport, green spaces and play areas.
- SITA Trust funding enriches nature by supporting biodiversity conservation projects in England’s 9 Biodiversity Regions. Projects must focus on species or habitats identified in the UK BAP process.
- SITA Trust receives its funding from SITA UK, one of the nation’s largest recycling and resource management companies through HM Government’s Landfill Communities Fund. Through this fund SITA UK voluntarily donates 6.2% of its landfill tax liability to SITA Trust to support environmental improvement projects.
Male and female adult salmon on a redd or nest of clean gravel - photo by John Aplin
Sarah Williams, Dorset Wild Rivers Officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, at the Dorchester Mill Stream, with new berm or shelf in the background - photo by Nicky Hoar
Dorchester Millsteam new berms - photo by Nicky Hoar