More news...

Sep 18, 2017
Category: General
Posted by: Kathryn

A public River Chess forum will take place in support of the World Wildlife Fund's 'Nature Needs You' campaign.

Jul 12, 2017
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

With groundwater levels now exceptionally low, the river in Chesham is dry as far as Lord's Mill, Waterside.

Jul 12, 2017
Category: Pollution
Posted by: Kathryn

We welcome the news that Thames Water will shortly be making improvements to the Chesham works.

Apr 1, 2017
Category: Pollution
Posted by: Kathryn

The River Chess has suffered many issues resulting from the Chesham Sewage Treatment Works, going as far back as 1889. These problems continue today.

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.