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Angling and Nature Conservation Success in the Colne Valley
18 February 2021
In the Colne Valley, a region famous for its coarse fishing and home to a large network of gravel pit lakes and river systems, a great collaborative project is taking place between angling clubs and the conservation community. Colne Valley Fisheries Consultative (CVFC), which represents the interests of angling clubs in the Colne Valley, are working collaboratively with Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust to celebrate the pivotal role anglers play as stewards of the environment and to support clubs to maximise the positive impact their fisheries can have on fish and wildlife.
The wildlife you can find on some fisheries sites is close to rivalling that inhabiting some of the most impressive nature reserves. As anglers we spend long periods of our time in the great outdoors frequenting riverbanks, lakes and canals as we wait with anticipation of our first bite. We are the eyes and ears for the environment and in the Colne Valley anglers are important stewards of rare habitats such as fen meadow, reedbeds, meadow grassland and wet woodland.
Thanks to support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, CVFC and the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust are offering angling clubs in the Colne Valley an integrated fisheries and wetland management course. The course will cover a diverse range of topics including fish biology and health, fisheries legislation, wetland habitat management and algae and silt control, alongside others. Anglers participating in the course will receive a formal certification as the course is accredited by the AQA Unit Award Scheme.
Engaging with Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and CVFC gives angling clubs access to training, funding and other support for their fisheries that helps to heighten their contribution to the management of the catchment as a whole. Without management by angling clubs, in the Colne Valley and up and down the country, many of our lakes and rivers would fall prey to neglect and become far less valuable – for wildlife and for people. The opportunity to collaborate with CVFC and individual angling clubs allows the local Wildlife Trust to restore nature at a regional scale, creating a true living wetland landscape in the Colne Valley. Many other stakeholders benefit from this biodiverse, resilient ecosystem – not least everyone who enjoys the valley’s open watery spaces.
Twenty-one anglers from eleven angling clubs have been involved in the project to date, representing eighteen fisheries sites which, when linked together form a network of wetland habitats for fish and other wildlife. Thanks to the efforts of this collaborative project, wildlife is thriving in the area with some venues being home to numerous kingfishers and one fishery having an established water vole population – one of the UK’s rarest mammals – flourishing alongside traditional fisheries management.
The work taking place in the Colne Valley is a vital reminder for us all that we are all stronger together and united through our love for the outdoors and what the natural world has to offer. These shared commonalities are far larger than the differences that divide us and will enable us to work together to allow our environment to thrive.
Thank you to all the angling clubs involved with this project and both Colne Valley Fisheries Consultative and Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust for facilitating the project with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Do you have a story to share on the work your angling club is doing in your local community? We’d love to hear from you. Please email Hannah Rudd, Campaigns Officer, at [email protected] with more information.
For further information on the Angling and Nature Conservation project please contact:
Colne Valley Rivers and Wetlands Officer, Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust: [email protected].