River Nene – Fishery Improvements Praised by Anglers
Works to improve fish and wildlife habitats near Peterborough have been praised by both anglers and local residents.
The praise follows the completion of a project by the Environment Agency to reduce the impact of erosion on the Castor backwater, a 1km stretch of the River Nene, near to the villages of Castor and Ailsworth.
The project has protected and improved important wildlife and coarse fish habitat. Work included repairing and re-profiling the river’s banks, installing fencing and cattle-drinkers and creating two fish-refuge ponds. The ponds provide areas for fish to shelter from high flows.
Hugh Bunker, Fisheries and Biodiversity Officer, said:
“Castor backwater is well known to local anglers but had been under pressure from bank erosion and high levels of silt entering the water. Peterborough and District Angling Association have told us that since we carried out the works, fish species such as chub, barbel and bream have been using the backwater to spawn. Fish were also seen moving into new flood refuge pools during the heavy rainfall in April.
I am really pleased that anglers and local residents have welcomed these improvements and reported these dramatic results back to us. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. I would also like to thank the Nene Park Trust for working with us to make the improvements possible. The Castor project has helped to bring this part of the River Nene to life.”
It is not only the fish that have benefited from the works. Members of the angling club have also commended the project team on their work to make previously inaccessible areas of the river bank available to anglers.
Andy Jackson, of Peterborough and District Angling Association, said:
“We are delighted with the works that have been done on Castor Backwater - they will help this stretch of water develop to its full potential as a fishery, a community recreation facility and a haven for wildlife. They may also ultimately help stretches of water below the Backwater improve.
We would like to thank all parties for their contribution to this project, but particularly the Environment Agency’s fisheries and biodiversity staff."
John Judge, of Ailsworth Parish Council, said:
“Already this work, plus additional tree planting, has created a beautiful area for all to enjoy. The parish council looks forward to working alongside the Environment Agency and Nene Park Trust on similar projects, preserving and protecting the natural beauty of the Nene Valley and the river as it flows through our part of Cambridgeshire.”
The Castor backwater project followed a survey carried out by the Wildlife Trust in 2010. New clean gravel was used to improve spawning sites and the river margins were improved for fry and juvenile fish.
Native trees such as willow and alder will also be planted on the river banks to provide shade over the channel, nesting sites for birds and a food source for fish and invertebrates.
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