Volunteers get their feet wet!

PUBLISHED: 04/09/2015
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Our volunteers have been getting their feet wet helping The Tees Rivers Trust Fisheries Officer, Richard Holmes, with electrofishing surveys over the summer. This work continues the electrofishing surveys that started in 2014 on a number of local becks that run through the HoT area. A total of seven becks are being monitored again to monitor the fish stocks within them.

The surveys have shown similar numbers and species of fish although there have been a couple of surprises and discoveries. Firstly, a large eel of about 2.5ft turned up in Scur Beck. This was great to see as eels are now an endangered species having suffered an estimated 98% collapse in stocks. It was also surprising to find one so far up the river. Eels start life in the Sargasso sea of the Mexican Coast and move with ocean currents, looking more like a leaf than an eel for the first 2 years. As they reach brackish waters they become tubiform and free swimming. They then move into rivers and wetlands and stay for between 8-15 years before making the journey back to the Sargasso. An eel of the size we caught would have been around 10 years old.   


Another pleasant surprise was a new survey section of Deepdale Beck. The beck contained a really healthy population of brown trout up to about 20cm and stoneloach. 

As summer draws to a close Tees River Trust will begin their winter activities. This is when they will be taking to the skies with a drone to do some surveys of becks in and around the villages of Teesdale. They will be contacting Parish Councils soon, but if you have a beck in your village that you would like to know more about and see from the air, then please give them a call!
 
The Tees River Trust Education Officer Sara Cox is now an accredited Riverfly Partnership tutor and has now trained the first HoT Riverfly monitors. Alex, Honia and Susie from the HoT team along with 3 more Teesdale volunteers came to our HQ in Darlington and were guinea pigs for Sara’s first session. Riverfly surveys are a great way to find out about the health of your local waterway and give you a great excuse to go and spend an hour in the river every month. The Trust are now planning another training day in October and will be advertising this in the Mercury, but if you would like any more information, please get in touch..

 

There are still a few weeks of ‘summer’ left and number of days surveying remaining to do so if anyone is interested in helping out or just coming for a look please contact the Tees River Trust on 01325 787651 or on 07879 648354 or via their facebook page.

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