I found this article about an EA project to re-populate some of the Cotswold rivers & streams on AnglersNet. Strangely, there’s nothing on the Environment Agencies web site about this project.
Native brown trout are being given a helping hand by the Environment Agency with a new project to increase their numbers.The project, which is running between January 2007 and February 2007, will see nearly 110,000 trout eggs being introduced to rivers in an effort to improve brown trout stocks.Fisheries officers from the Environment Agency released 40,000 trout eggs into incubation boxes along the River Churn on Thursday 25 January. This will be the third batch of eggs that have been released. On the 3 January officers put 39,000 eggs into boxes on the River Coln and Ampney Brook. A further 30,000 eggs were put into the River Dikler (a tributary of the River Windrush) at two sites on the 11 January.The Environment Agency has installed the incubation boxes to house the trout eggs and enhance the natural brown trout population of the river in a sustainable way. Trout eggs from carefully selected local sources have been sowed into the gravel within the boxes. These conditions mimic the natural incubation of trout eggs laid in gravel “reeds”.
The incubation boxes protect the eggs and newly hatched young fish, or “alevins”, when they are most vulnerable to predators and habitat change. The egg boxes provide a resourceful way to re-introduce fish to the river’s and allow the fish to grow and adapt to the river’s environment. After around 40 days the eggs hatch and after a further week the small fish or “alevins” swim from the boxes to repopulate the river.
Chris Bell, a fisheries officer for the Environment Agency, said: “Thriving stocks of brown trout are seen as excellent indicators of a healthy river. This work is important to re-establish this native species in areas of our local rivers which have suffered because of drought, pollution or habitat change. The egg box schemes work in conjunction with other initiatives by Environment Agency to protect and improve the rivers and to ensure these fish flourish in the future.”
Brown trout are native to the British Isles. However over the last century they have suffered through loss of habitat caused by pollution, abstraction, impoundment of rivers and competition from other species including their American relative, the rainbow trout. The Environment Agency is actively working to increase native brown trout numbers to improve diversity in our rivers.
The work has been carried out in conjunction with several partner organisations, including local landowners, the Cotswold Fly Fishers and River Churn Syndicate, which are both angling clubs.