9th February 2016

The start of 2016 has been marked by an awful lot of rain and flooding. As a result, rivers have been the focus of many of the news headlines over the last few weeks, many of them negative. It is therefore good to hear some positive news about our rivers, admittedly from a slightly unusual source.

Anyone interested in our rivers and their management can have failed to have heard about the current controvesy surrounding the re-introduction of beavers into UK rivers. Virtually on our doorstep, a family of beavers has made their home on the River Otter in East Devon, while further afield there is now a large population of beavers on the River Tay.

There have been concerns from anglers about the impact of these beaver re-introductions, however the scientific studies being carried out increasingly suggest that the overall impact of beavers is positive for our rivers. This includes some recent work carried out by Exeter University and covered by the Western Morning News. They found that the presence of beavers and the dams they create trapped significant amounts of sediment, removed pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus and also acted to store large quantities of water, which can help reduce flooding downstream. Could the future of UK rivers be one shaped by beavers?!

While maybe not as exciting as beavers, here at Fishtek we are currently carrying out some research ourselves, testing the impact of a new type of hydroturbine on fish. Some of the members of the team were on site setting up the system last week, including a large storage system for the fish to be used in the trial, a video and image of which is below:

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