Some thoughts from Dr Ed Shaw, the new Director of the Trust
It’s been a very fruitful year for the Trust. The Living Heritage of the Don project is now in full swing, with five weirs having been modified to increase the ability of migrating salmon to reach spawning grounds in Sheffield and further upstream. Things are falling into place and all being well it won’t be long now before salmon begin to naturally recolonise the catchment. Furthermore two new members of staff have been employed to run interesting and rewarding events that are good for both people and rivers, such as riverbank clear-ups and school sessions.
Yet there is much much more that can be done to improve the rivers and streams of our catchment. This is why the Trust has decided to appoint a Director, a position I am privileged to have been able to take on. The priority of the role will be to develop new worthwhile projects and apply for funding to ensure the Trust goes from strength to strength and continues to make our catchment a better place. I’m not a new face at the Trust; I’ve been involved since I was a student and I have witnessed the DCRT evolve from little more than an idea into the team of dedicated and passionate staff and Trustees it is today.
While in some ways we live in alarming times, with the threat of climate change, an increasingly resource hungry world, and shrinking budgets, for a number of reasons these are also exciting times. Governments are waking up to the fact that the restoration and better management of ecosystems, often at a low cost, can provide many benefits such as a reduction in flooding, improved water quality, increased carbon storage and good habitat for wildlife. At the same time technology is advancing at a breathtaking speed, equipping us to improve, manage and monitor our rivers and land more effectively. The digital age has enabling the unprecedented collation, synthesis and sharing of information and data, and this is propelling advances in ecological knowledge, and we are now in a golden age of discovery. Our society is better informed than it’s ever been, with institutions like the University of Sheffield, the internet, and the media providing more opportunities for people to learn, which is probably the reason that there is a great appetite for projects that enhance the environment. And to cap it all there is the good news story of the dramatic ecological recovery of the Don, Dearne and Rother in the last few decades. All this means that I am cautiously optimistic for the future. As the new Director I’m looking forward to playing my part at the Trust and helping make a positive difference to the rivers and streams in our catchment.