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News article created on 12 June 2015

River improvements prove a big hit for fish

Boat moorings at Bardney on the River Witham are proving popular with visitors under, as well as on, the water after a number of fish-friendly improvements were made.

Hundreds of special bristles have been attached to the underside of the moorings giving fish a sheltered place to thrive and they’re already proving a big hit.

The eight ‘refuges’ offer fish a hiding place from predators, a comfortable area to spawn, and a safe harbour when higher-than-normal water levels put them at risk of being washed away.

Boosting fish numbers

It has been just three months since the project was completed by the Environment Agency, the Canal & River Trust and the Lincolnshire Rivers Trust but it is already proving a success, boosting the number of fish in the area.

David Hutchinson, Environment Agency catchment co-ordinator, said; “Underwater sonar images have revealed thousands of small roach fish. Over time, these will grow and move to other areas of the river benefiting the Witham’s ecological status as well as the catch for local anglers.

“To get a consistently good classification under the European Water Framework Directive, we need to have lots of fish – and a good variety of them – right along the river.

“Projects like this help habitats to thrive. And a thriving river is good for the environment, good for people, and good for the local economy.”

A safe place to shelter

Lucie Hoelmer, enterprise manager for the Canal & River Trust said; “It’s lovely to see how a really simple adjustment to the moorings can have a big impact for local fish populations. These new refuges will give fish a safe place to shelter and spawn improving the health of the river and making it an even more special place for people to visit.”

The refuges at Bardney Moorings are part of a series of improvements to the habitat along the river Witham between Bardney and Boston.  It is hoped similar schemes can be carried out in the future at further moorings along the river.