Our Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) Officer, Karen Housham shares her thoughts on the Don Network

As the Project officer for the Don Network the very best part of my job is getting out and about in the catchment and seeing all the varied and fantastic work that is going on.  Today I was out at Ravenfield Ponds near Rotherham, home to the Phoenix and Parkgate Angling Club.

The club received a grant from the Don Network to construct floating islands in the ponds that provide a safe haven for fish fry and help take nutrients from the water.  It’s a beautiful spot; secluded and peaceful (apart from all the quacking ducks) and a great place for a walk or a day’s fishing. floting island

Martin Read from the club also showed me some of the other work going on.  They are taking part in the National Crucian Conservation Project with the Angling Trust.  Crucian carp are endangered across their natural international range and the number of fisheries containing crucian carp across the UK is in the decline.  The decline comes from loss of habitat and the threat to the species through hybridisation with goldfish and other carp and competition caused by inappropriate stocking practices.  Martin and his colleagues have two ponds dedicated to crucian, along with tench and rudd with whom they will live quite happily, and hope to provide a thriving crucian fishery.

crucian carp

Last week I met up with Richard King and Sally Gawthorpe from the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership and heard about all the work going on there, made possible with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.  Coincidentally my long-time colleague at the Environment Agency, Stuart Jenkinson, retired that same week after more than 30 years’ service.   Stuart was instrumental in the work in the early days of the Dearne Valley Green Heart.  When I spoke to him to wish him well he said that his work in the Dearne Valley was the thing he was most proud of in his career, and rightly so.  Stuart was involved in creating wetlands and havens for wildlife as an innovative form of flood protection.  Richard and his team have a wide ranging programme, celebrating the rich heritage of the area (based on pottery, brick and linen as well as mining), the beautiful environment and getting communities involved.

Have you got something that you would like to share with the Don Network?  I’d love to hear from you;

Karen Housham, CaBA Officer