RTCT April 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to our monthly newsletter. We always love to update people on what is happening around the catchment, and what better way to fill people in than with a monthly newsletter. We hope that you enjoy reading and welcome any suggestions for next month, just send them to Natalie@riverthame.org 

We did get some glorious days this month which kicked started the trees into blossom, the butterflies into flight and the aquatic plants to start growing. Now, just one week later and we definitely have some April showers, hopefully we will get some more sunshine in May! Look out for Riverflies emerging this month. On warm evenings you can see thousands of Mayflies dipping up and down over the waters surface in their beautiful courtship dance.

Adult Mayfly by the Milton Keynes Natural History Society

A big welcome to RTCT’s SECOND Project Officer

Hannah Worker, the Trust’s second Project Officer joined the team at the end of March and really has hit the ground running with a number of projects, including the first Clean Water Quest in the Thame Catchment.

Hannah has already begun exploring the Thame catchment but she is excited to get to know the area, the community and amazing volunteers we work with.

She has a background in biology and freshwater ecology from undertaking a Biology degree from Sussex University. She joins us from Freshwater Habitats Trust where she worked as a project assistant.

Hannah says: “I am extremely interested in freshwater habitats and the species that live in them, having spent many hours watching tadpoles and frogs roam around my garden pond as a child. My love of all things small and slimy continued into adulthood, but expanded as I realised what else could be hiding below the surface. One of my favourite creatures is medicinal leech and a much loved plant is Pillwort, a small aquatic fern.

I very much look forward to working with the residents and communities of the Thame Catchment to creating a more diverse and happy freshwater environment.”

Welcome Hannah! We are very happy to have you on board. Its excellent to have more hands to help look after and enhance the Thame Catchment!

Monitoring at Waddesdon Estate

This month we have really cracked on with monitoring the water meadow at Waddesdon Estate where the first wetland creation in the Thame catchment is being planned.

Adam, our dedicated RTCT volunteer has been measuring water levels in boreholes as well as in the two channels that surround the site. This will give us an idea of whether the ground water beneath the site is directly connected to river i.e. if it is then the water in the boreholes will go up and down when the river does.

Why is this important?

As we all know the water in the River Thame isn’t the best in terms of nutrients and therefore if the ground water is linked to the river then the water quality in the newly created wetland ponds will also be poor. Although, once we know whether this is the case or not then careful design can ensure that this won’t be too much of a problem.

This is a photo of what we are using to measure the water levels in our bore holes, a child’s toy and a measuring tape! The ways that charities find to save money!

Clean Water Quest

With only a few days until the start of May and therefore the start of our Clean Water Quest we have had many people signing up all around the catchment to take part.

If you haven’t signed up yet, its not too late! Sign up via the website of email Hannah@riverthame.org. We have a new online map which can help you select a site if you don’t already have one in mind.

Click here to view all available sites

Restocking the Fisheries of the River Thame

This month some 8000 fish were stocked into five sites along the river from Nether Winchendon in the upper reaches down to Chiselhampton. Last year Thames Water were fined £20million for several pollution events between 2012 and 2014 including a significant pollution of the River Thame.

In a bid to redress the issues caused by the pollution incident Thames Water have funded the restocking of the river with around 8000 three to four year old chub, roach, bream and barbel.  This forms the first part of a larger restocking programme which will eventually see in the region of 150000 fish stocked into the river by Thames Water and the Environment Agency over the next three years.

The three year stocking plan should result in a good range of year classes of fish being present when the stocking plan is completed. Commenting on the restocking plan Dave Wales, Secretary of the Thame Valley Fisheries Preservation Consultative (TVFPC) and RTCT Trustee said “Whilst we were very disappointed that the pollution incidents occurred in the first place, and that the fisheries were severely degraded – we have to move forward. We believe that the restocking plan represents the best hope for the long term future of the River Thame. Thames Water has shown to be willing to work with the TVFPC by funding the surveys and restocking programme and they have also granted the River Thame Conservation Trust a significant amount of funds for improvement projects along the length of the River Thame. I am optimistic that the River Thame has a bright future – but it will take time to restore it to its full potential and continued vigilance by Thames Water on the quality of its sewage discharges will be vital”