An autumn update

There has been a lot going on in the project over the last few months, and we thought we’d share a bit about what we have all been up to.

We completed our annual electrofishing surveys in September, and although we haven’t had official results back yet we know that numbers were good. Later in September, we carried out some more electrofishing in the upper reaches of the Teign to tag salmon and trout parr, as part of a PIT tagging project. This project is a partnership between Bournemouth University, Environment Agency and TACA, with support from Westcountry Rivers Trust. The aim is to find out more about fish movement within the Teign, and to identify the key areas of the river which are having an impact on smolt migration with a view to building up an evidence base to demonstrate impact/serious damage. The project can then consider mitigation measures to improve smolt output and ultimately (hopefully) improve the number of returning adults. This is a very exciting project to be part of, and we are really looking forward to finding out more about the salmon of the Teign as the project progresses.

Hard working volunteers at Fingle

In October we held a practical volunteering day at Fingle, in conjunction with our project partners at The National Trust. We tackled several issues, mainly focussed on bankside erosion. The day was spent improving access at one site, and laying/coppicing vegetation in other areas; we hope that this will protect key areas of the river from further erosion, and will still allow good access to the river at other spots. Our thanks to everyone who helped out on the day, it was great to have so many people getting hands-on!

National Trust volunteers improving public access to minimise erosion

Another piece of work that has been taking up our time is the digitisation of our project data, both current and historical. Collectively, we have a vast library of information but some of it is still only in paper form – for example we have spawning record maps dating back as far as 1959. There’s an incredible amount of knowledge and history there and we want to make sure that it is stored safely and not lost to the mists of time, and we also want to be able to use this data. Using GIS mapping, we are going to be plotting all of this information, which includes redd counts, electrofishing results, Riverfly data, barriers, pollution sources etc and using it to work out where we can most effectively target our work and achieve some tangible results. This has been a significant piece of work, and this digital library will be a lasting legacy of the project that we hope will be useful for many years to come.

Other work has seen us carrying out further walkover surveys, removal of blockers in stream and annual maintenance of the temperature loggers. We completed the final Riverfly surveys of the season in September and these results will be added to our database as well as the national Riverfly database.

Salmon redds on the Teign

Looking ahead, we are about to start our annual redd count surveys for 2022/23. This involves walking key stretches of the river looking for spawning activity and redds, and this is really important information for us; it tells us how spawning numbers relate to previous years, whether the same spawning grounds are being used, or new grounds are identified, and it gives us an indication of how many fish have made it back upstream to spawn. We are always looking for help with these surveys so please get in touch if you have some time; we’ll provide training and if you are very lucky you might even get to see spawning taking place. It can be hard to say when these surveys will start as spawning is generally triggered by colder temperatures, but we’ve had several reports of fish seen lying in wait in the river………

Our thanks to everyone who has helped out over the last few months, in whatever way, shape or form – it is always appreciated.