More news...

Jul 6, 2018
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

With this hot weather our water use goes up; this leaves less water available for the Chess.

May 3, 2018
Category: Abstraction
Posted by: Kathryn

With an ever-growing demand for drinking water and increasingly extreme weather events, how do we get the water we need without causing even more harm to our rivers?

May 2, 2018
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

Our riverfly monitors are back out in the centre of Chesham checking for life in the Chess now that flow has returned.

Mar 24, 2018
Category: HS2
Posted by: Kathryn

A public meeting with HS2 and the Environment Agency looked at the risks posed by tunnelling to the groundwater and rivers of the Chess and Misbourne Valleys.

Latest News

Good News for Fish!

Mar 10, 2013

Category: Conservation
Posted by: Kathryn

Installing deflectors at Sarratt Bottom

Installing upstream-facing V deflectors

The RCA has helped undertake a habitat enhancement project on the River Chess at Sarratt Bottom. The work took place at the beginning of March and involved the removal of two weirs and their replacement with deflectors and other in-stream features that will improve the habitat for fish and other wildlife. Organised by the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project (CSSP) and part-funded by the Thames Rivers Trust, the work was carried out by a combination of RCA volunteers, CCSP and Environment Agency officers, the landowner and members of the syndicate who fish that stretch of the river.

The two weirs covered the whole width of the river, widening the channel which in turned slowed the flow. This resulted in siltation above each weir. The weirs also restricted the movement of fish. In contrast, the new upstream-facing V deflectors are causing deflected flow to scour out a deep depression in the riverbed, cleaning the gravels. At either bank, the deflector arms have created slack water that will silt up and create perfect habitat for vegetation. Over time, this will narrow down the unnaturally wide channel. And fish can now move freely between these structures. RCA volunteers had learnt how to install deflectors at their Wild Trout Trust Masterclass held at Scotsbridge in 2012.

Mid-stream deflectors were installed to provide additional habitat for fish through the creation of scour pools and areas of slack water. And two cover boards were secured to the riverbed to provide refuge areas for fish to hide from predators.

The RCA took an invertebrate sample in advance of the project, and found six of the eight target groups were already present. We hope to return in three months' time to see how the work is settling in an assess what further work needs to be carried out. There are four other weirs present that we believe could be removed to further benefit the river habitat.

We would like to thank all partners involved in making this such a successful project, and particularly the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project for providing funding support to the RCA to enable the purchase of tools and safety equipment enabling this and future work to be carried out.