River observations please!

Springtime – the evenings are getting lighter and the weather is (sort of) getting brighter, the wild garlic and bluebells are in abundance and for many, a walk along the river is a good chance to unwind and enjoy some peace and quiet.

Sadly for the Teign, all is not well; we have had quite a number of reported sightings recently from concerned walkers, anglers, landowners, swimmers etc. In April alone we were alerted to all sorts of things, including:

a mysterious cloudy substance running from pipes directly into the river;

several reports of a strong sewage smell in the Teign and the Bovey (this is South West Water dumping raw sewage into the river);

multiple large trees washed down river that have built up behind a bridge, posing a potential fish passage issue and also causing damage to the bridge;

large chunks of the riverbank that have been eroded in high water levels, leading to high volumes of sediment in the river and exposed banks vulnerable to more erosion;

run-off from building sites leading to huge volumes of sediment in the local streams

These are just some of the concerns over the past month. Without people reporting these events to us, we probably wouldn’t have known about it and the issue would have gone unreported and unrecorded. All of the information that is passed to us is logged on our system and this really helps us make sure the project is doing all it can for the river, both in terms of targetting some long-term monitoring at some of these sites if appropriate, and recording areas where we can carry out some practical works to mitigate and avoid similar happening again. We have a network of volunteers across the catchment who are carrying out river walkovers, water quality sampling and freshwater invertebrate sampling, all of which help us to build up data and information, and we can use the reported sightings we get to help target when and where these surveys are carried out. Of course, if an incident is serious we will act promptly to report it to the Environment Agency.

If you spot anything you are concerned about, however small you think it is, please do let us know. You can contact Geoff or Louise (see Contact Us page).

You can also contact the Environment Agency Hotline (Telephone: 0800 80 70 60) to report any of the following:

  • collapsed or badly damaged river banks
  • damage or danger to the natural environment
  • dead fish or fish gasping for air
  • flooding from main rivers or the sea
  • people taking water illegally from rivers, streams, canals or underground sources such as wells
  • incidents at Environment Agency-regulated waste sites
  • main rivers blocked by a vehicle or fallen tree causing risk of flooding
  • poaching or illegal fishing
  • pollution to water or land
  • unusual changes in river flow