The Isle of Wight Catchment Plan lists a number of projects we would like to see happen on the Isle of Wight. These projects can standalone, quick wins that improve one or more aspect of a water course. Alternatively they can be added together to make a flagship project that makes major changes. Sometimes we are able to deliver a flagship project all at once, but more often we have to chip away over a number of years to achieve our aims.
The following are a couple of flagship projects that we would like to complete, and two more that are nearing completion.
Medina Fish Migration
We would like to allow sea trout and eels to swim all the way up the Medina, but unfortunately due to historic milling, and more recent flood defences, it is not possible, except for the strongest of fish. There are several isolated populations of trout on the river, but they are pretty much trapped in a locality. The main obstacles are along the stretch between St Georges Bridge in Newport and Blackwater.
At the same time we would like to improve the river habitat for spawning, and improve the quality of the water.
Where we are. Some improvements were made to river habitat between 2010 and 2012. Initial plans have been drawn up to make 10 structures fish and eel friendly, but these need refining.
What we need to do. We need a find lot of money for fish passage. We want to work with landowners to improve the bankside habitat and arrest sediment flow into the river. We need to identify whether there are any flood prevention opportunities.
Wroxall Stream Improvements
Wroxall Stream is classed as a ‘poor’ river under the Water Framework Directive. It fails due to macrophytes and phosphates, and the Eastern Yar (into which it flows) has a coastal waterbody fail due to nitrogen. Invasive Non-native species (INNS) are listed as a contributing factor to the Wroxall Stream failure. We would like to improve the quality of water in Wroxall Stream and improve the habitat for key species such as water vole. In addition we have identified a number of obstacles that make fish migration tricky, we would like to improve passage.
Where we are. We have been chipping away with small scale works that improve light reaching the river (to help native plant growths and invertebrates) and we have a number of small projects that are arresting sediment load into the watercourse. We have mapped the instream barriers to fish migration. We have been removing Himalayan Balsam (it is the source of the infestation on the Island). In addition, Wroxall Stream is a little known water-course on the Island and we would like to find out more about it. Most of it is unaltered and follows the course it would have done centuries ago. We have a worthy band of volunteers who want to work with us on this project.
What we need to do. We know what we want to do, we need to identify a source of funding.
Lukely Brook Fish Migration
Lukely Brook has been heavily modified for milling. There are a number of obstacles along its course between Newport Quay and Plaish Meadows at Carisbrooke. It is also a source of our drinking water which means that it flow is lower that ideally it would be.
Where we are. Several years ago the Environment Agency put a fish pass in by St Cross Mill in Newport. Southern Water are busy working with land owners between Wellington Road in Carisbrooke and Clatterford Shute to help fish navigate the obstructions on this part of the river. Newport Rivers Group are now working with the Environment Agency to ensure the middle section is fish friendly.
Down to the Coast
This Lottery Heritage Fund programme has included a number of projects that are improving the water-courses in East Wight – in particular those in the East Yar catchment. Two fish easements are now in place, and we hope to add a third. A Wetland’s Officer has been overseeing a number of bankside improvements, and we have been removing Himalayan Balsam. In addition we will be launching two new river trails, and revamping a third. Our ‘All Along the Riverbank’ is an annual celebration. The project is due to complete in 2020.