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Thread: Rivers Trust - Get involved

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Rivers Trust - Get involved

    Chris White of the Conway Valley Fishing & Conservation Association bemoaned the fact that canoeists did not get involved with the Rivers Trusts. Although we do not agree on the PRN, Chris talks a lot of sense. I had thought that Rivers Trust were just another layer of cover for the anti-navigation fishermen but Chris talks a lot of sense so I contacted the Trent Rivers Trust who were keen to get canoeists involved. They had been inviting CE for years but no one ever turned up.


    The long shot is that Chris Page the new CE waterways and environment guy for the Midlands and I attended the TRT Dove catchment meeting. In addition to the usual suspects EA, NE, and fishing clubs there were County Councils, Commercial organisations, National Trust, National Parks, forestry, land management, farming, environmental charities, and the Wild Trout Trust.


    WTT are a very impressive organisation with whom I have had dealings over Dovedale. If you can get hold of their yearly magazine, Salmo Trutta, it is well worth a read. There is the fishing adventure story with toothy grins and large fish in exotic locations but the bulk of the content ranks as a world class popular science journal.


    All of these organisations have Water Framework Directive initiatives, many of which will impact on canoeing. The catchment meetings are where we are all made aware of what the others are doing and to discuss any issues. WE NEED TO BE INVOLVED. If we are not there then a consensus may congeal around things that prevent canoeing. We would also have the problem that only CE would represent our interests (enough said.)



    The aim of going to their meetings is networking and finding common ground. We are all concerned about water quality. Barriers to fish migration are also barriers to navigation. The health and long term viability of our native species is our common heritage so we all want healthy wild trout populations without genetic contamination from hatchery fish etc. Actively cooperating with others to improve our rivers will break down barriers and prejudice. Most people do not want to hear two people slogging it out over the PRN debate. When one chap tried to engage me in such a debate I simply said I would talk to him afterwards. One fisherman tried the old chestnut of why they have to pay and we don't. The answer to this that prevents further argument is, blame Mr Justice O'Hagan [Murphy v Ryan] who ruled that fishing rights were a profit a prendre, that is property for which you pay the market price but a PRN is an easement which is free to use. Discuss the PRN on a one to one basis but don't spoil things for others.


    What was really good was the general feeling of wanting to work together. The monomaniac was cold shouldered. Apparently without consulting anyone, the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust decided to block the river Churnett with large woody debris. The local anglers saw the untidy obstruction and sent in a working party to clear it up. SWT then dumped a few lorry loads of trees into the river. When I said my mate was upset because he could no longer canoe the Churnett and suggested that LWD could be introduced without blocking the river, SWT started shouting about it not being navigable. Feeling the lack of sympathy with his behaviour he muttered something about having trees not blocking the channel but insisted that there must still be a few right across. If we come across as boorish monomaniacs we will defeat our cause. I got on quite well with the Birmingham Fly Fishers and it was smiles and waves in the car park at the end.


    OK get involved, make some new friends out of old enemies. Men and women of good will do not need to be at war. Your environment needs you.


    The good news is the salmon have found their way back to the Derwent and the Dove. Welcome back guys. It has been a long time.

  2. #2

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    Excellent point well raised. I have read in several places of the invite to canoeing/kayaking bodies to attend such meetings....where noone has. We cant really be upset about not knowing whats going on or about poor relationships with other stakehoders if none of us step up and get involved. So far as i can tell, we all want variations of the same thing and we are a big group of people that can make a genuine positive environmental difference, be it clearing litter or respecting needs of other users.

    I am quite keen to attend such meetings but dont really know where to start as i am somewhat disconnected from whatever we now call our governing bodies. I am also concerned that despite years as a paddler i may not be best informed to represent all.
    Do you know how we find out about these meetings and apply to attend?

    Phill

  3. #3
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    Nice to hear such a positive and constructive approach.

    This seems to be the umbrella organisation for the local Trusts: http://www.theriverstrust.org/


    This "Vision" from the Thames Rivers Trust seems eminently workable.


    We work with a wide range of partners including government agencies, local authorities, water companies, businesses and communities to improve the River Thames and its tributaries to provide the fullest possible range of benefits for people and wildlife. These ‘ecosystem benefits’ range from providing water for human consumption, natural flood management, waste water clean up, biodiversity, navigation, angling, recreation, education, scientific research and many others.

    Our vision for the Thames Our vision is for a future where the Thames still performs vital functions such as navigation and water supply for human uses, but where possible the river and especially its 600 kilometres of tributaries have:

    the natural river structure restored
    adequate water flow in all seasons to support wildlife
    floodwaters stored naturally and safely on floodplains or in wetlands
    native wildlife restored
    native fish populations and opportunities for angling
    access for people to rivers for healthy outdoor recreation
    (My bold)

    I will see if I can find out more. Thanks Andy.
    Paddler,blogger,camper,pyromaniac: Blog: Wilderness is a State of Mind

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angut View Post
    OK get involved, make some new friends out of old enemies. Men and women of good will do not need to be at war. Your environment needs you.
    An excellent move Andy. There are clearly some who feel it serves their purpose to portray canoeists as marauding hoards with a lot in common with the public image of the vikings!

    This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the error of their ways and make our contribution to fulfilling the vision.
    These ‘ecosystem benefits’ range from providing water for human consumption, natural flood management, waste water clean up, biodiversity, navigation, angling, recreation, education, scientific research and many others.
    There is nothing there that canoeists would not want to see or that we couldn't make a worthwhile contribution to.
    Keith

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Romsey, Paddle estuaries within an hour, also club member and coach, and scout canoeing helper
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    Paddler's involvement with the Rivers Trusts is definitely positive. It will help build relationships and understanding of each the needs and issues of all those involved with rivers.
    I would have thought that paddlers also need to be involved with the work of any partnerships for each river catchment and the management plans for them - the Rivers Trusts will know about these.

    However when we talk about paddler representation it is important that is does not only promote the needs of a single party. That has been part of the problem with some of the 'agreements' made to use rivers.
    Paddlers are a diverse group consisting of those involved in sport, commercial enterprises, clubs, and individual paddling, with differing needs.
    Whoever is representing paddlers has to be aware of that diversity.

    Examples are : a canoe club may need regular access to a stretch of water at predictable times for club and training sessions. A commercial or volunteer coach will need suitable places to run courses when the conditions are right. Individuals need access to somewhere, usually local, to paddle at unpredictable times, and access to different types of water to develop their paddling experience.

    It's how that range of needs can be accommodated successfully alongside the needs of other users of rivers. This is an issue that needs to be addressed regardless of the legal status of the rivers.

    Active involvement in trusts and other river management bodies is a good start in building a working solution which a significant majority find acceptable.

    Brevan
    Brevan,
    The truth (about Rights of Navigation) is out there
    Romsey, Hampshire
    Twitter: BrevanM
    Follow my blog at http://riveraccessrights.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
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    Jul 2006
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    This seems to be a list of all the river trusts

    http://www.theriverstrust.org/riverstrusts/index.html
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Cheshire
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    Pretty comprehensive spread. Having looked at one or two they are very heavily fish and environmental biased. This is understandable as that reflects their original raison detre and of course the EU river basin management approach which is a very positive approach to river management, if the river eco system isn't healthy then we have nothing. However us human beings seem very low down the pecking order and in some the notion of any recreational use of the river, (other than angling) seems non existent to say nothing about access to the water. I worry that access and recreation are very much the poor relation in the initiatives undertaken by most trusts. I'd love to be mistaken but fear that I'm not. As far as representation is concerned I wonder how many have BCU officers or volunteers in attendance?
    Mike

  8. #8
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    Jun 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by 25272527 View Post
    Pretty comprehensive spread. Having looked at one or two they are very heavily fish and environmental biased. This is understandable as that reflects their original raison detre and of course the EU river basin management approach which is a very positive approach to river management, if the river eco system isn't healthy then we have nothing. However us human beings seem very low down the pecking order and in some the notion of any recreational use of the river, (other than angling) seems non existent to say nothing about access to the water. I worry that access and recreation are very much the poor relation in the initiatives undertaken by most trusts. I'd love to be mistaken but fear that I'm not. As far as representation is concerned I wonder how many have BCU officers or volunteers in attendance?
    Mike
    I can only speak about the Trent Rivers Trust but they are a broad church and wanted representatives of canoeing. Whatever the situation if we go in with negative attitudes expecting to be victimised the others will pick up on that and fulfill your expectations. The last contact I had with fishermen at the TRT meeting was a letter from Fish Legal. Face to face they were regular guys with a mutual interest in river ecology. They haven't got two heads and they don't eat babies. They see that we are not berserkers with horns on our hats, chewing out shields as we prepare to rape and pillage.

    The BCU do not seem to be that keen on representing us except when we threaten to upstage them. Even then the chocolate teapot effect is likely to manifest itself. Just get yourself in on their catchment meetings as a local canoeist, know your stuff, stand your ground but try and find the common ground because that, not whingeing about fishermen, is the way forward.

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