5 Jul 2010

When will salmon return to Salmon Springs?

This short film was produced in 1989 by Stroud Valleys Project and I only saw it earlier this year - I've been meaning to add it to this blog as it is sadly still relevant today - although moves for hydro at Ebley are again being explored - these are important as hydropower is one of the critical requirements for restoring salmon.

The last known rod caught salmon was at Salmon Springs in the late 1950s, following the closure of access to the River Severn. There is theoretical access via the Gloucester Sharpness Canal - and I'm told by local water expert Julian Jones that a salmon was claimed to have been pitchforked out of the Frome in the 1960s. Julian also notes that he did several times hook large salmon-like fish while trout fishing in the '70s & '80s but couldn't get them to the surface to see what they were, before being snapped up.

Another obstacle for salmon is the river Frome weir at Whitminster - they can apparently sometimes been seen there - dying.

Salmon was once so common that servants complained of its frequent appearance on the menu. The decline of salmon fisheries throughout the UK, especially where salmon farms are in estuaries, places an important emphasis on there restoration wherever possible. I'm also told that the Frome 'salmon' probably included runs of Slob Trout, estuarine sea trout, as the local 'salmon' were often claimed to have white flesh. This is a feature of Slob Trout, which are Sea Trout that live in estuaries and feed only on fish - they grow very large, are very silver and look like salmon. The pink flesh of salmon, sea trout and some (most of our larger local) brown trout, is pink from a diet of crustaceans.

Anyhow it would be good to see interested individuals come together on this issue to see if we can really restore salmon to Salmon Springs. Certainly in the Ruscombe Brook Action Group and the Stroud Valleys Water Forum we are pushing for the improvements that will eventually lead to their return! Anyone interested in helping take this issue forward?

Combined Sewer Overflows in the Stroud District

As noted in the film a Combined Sewer Overflow is a valve that operates when the sewers are surcharged due to heavy rain. The valve discharges the sewage that the sewer can not carry into the brooks, streams and rivers of Stroud - a problem that most of the country suffers from and has been covered previously on this blog.

Severn Trent has permission from the EA for this practice, and Severn Trent has a list of where the outlets are in Stroud. The impact on bio-diversity can be very large. One way of solving the problem without re-building the Victorian sewer network would be a series of reed-beds to clean-up the discharge before it enters the water-course.

In the last couple of months I have been following up on the Combined sewer overflow problem at Gladfield Gardens in Ebley. I have written to Severn Trent (no answer), spoken to Cainscross Parish Council who were going to write a letter of concern and I have now spoken with the Environment Agency at some length. I am particularly concerned that this site poses a health risk to residents and will also negatively impact on plans to develop the canal.

See also ex-Nailsworth resident's Devon organic carp farm here.


Anonymous said...

Did you see this story recently about a salmon on canal at Frampton on Severn?



Philip Booth said...

Great story! Thanks for link.

Anonymous said...

As the 1989 film says 'the salmon will inevitably return to Salmon Springs ...', as they obviously are trying to. But whether it will be in our time is another matter; as almost everything our Society does, and the way it does this,conspires against this.

Julian Saunders said...

I lived at grove salmon springs for the first 16 years of my life, caught many trout in the stream but never came across any salmon. That was 28 years ago now.

Philip Booth said...

The hopes for Salmon at Salmon Springs are still very much alive!