The latest newsletter from Natural England contains articles about ammonia, slug control and The Rother Valley Farmers Group. The whole newsletter can be read below
The Government has launched a new grant scheme to help deliver improvements to the water environment over the next 3 years.
The new competitive grant scheme, launched today, is for projects to improve the water environment and delivering on Water Framework Directive objectives. The Water Environment Grant (WEG) is open to applications from a variety of organisations ranging from voluntary organisations and local authorities, through to landowners and businesses.
£27M is available nationally, and both single and multi-year bids are encouraged. The scheme is being managed by a team comprising of representatives from the Environment Agency (EA) and Natural England (NE). Successful projects will be approved by late summer and would need to start no earlier than October 2018, and finish no later than March 2021. Official guidance and the application pack can be found here
If you have are planning to make an application and would like further advice on how to proceed, please contact Gareth Williams
The Arun & Rother Rivers Trust (ARRT) is pleased to announce that the recent Rother Valley Farmer Group (RVFG) application to the Natural England Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund has been successful. You can read more in the attached press release from ARRT.
Coming up soon is British Dragonfly week when the British Dragonhfly Society are asking everyone to record the dragonflys they see.
The final ARC newsletter can be downloaded HERE.
We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has been involved with the project over the past few years and wish you all well improving the landscapes of the Arun and Rother in the future! Best wishes, the ARC team.
We captured exclusive video footage of an otter last week, which is a first for Sussex! It was caught on a wildlife camera after a member of public contacted the team to report what they thought were otter tracks on a river bank. Within a few days, this unmistakable footage was captured!
Click on this link to see the footage.
This is really exciting news for West Sussex and highlights how successful conservation working in partnership can be. Otters are a flagship species, at the top of the wetland food chain. We know that if otters are healthy, then the species in the food chain below them are also healthy. This natural recolonization is great news for the catchment!
Otters were once widespread in Sussex and the rest of the UK, but from the 1960s the population was decimated due to industrial and agricultural pollution along with hunting and the destruction of their habitat. They became extinct in many parts of the UK.
Through bringing together expertise from several organisations, the ARC project has been able to improve the local waterways and encourage native species such as otter, water vole, eel, rare birds and insects to re-colonise the area.
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact: RSPB Southeast communications team on 01273 775 333.
Over 20 cub scouts became ARC project volunteers this week, planting wildflower seeds in and around a recently created rain garden in Horsham.
The rain garden, which is designed to capture excess surface water, was designed by the Green Infrastructure Consultancy in partnership with Horsham District Council and installed at Bennett’s Field in Horsham last month by Brierley Groundworks. It is the second rain garden to be created in West Sussex this year through the Heritage Lottery funded Arun and Rother Connections project. The first was in Littlehampton and a third is planned for Pulborough.
Rain gardens are small-scale features that capture rainwater runoff from buildings, pavements and other hard surfaces, and which then temporarily store, clean and slowly release that water back into the soil or drainage system, helping gardens and towns to deal more effectively with heavy rainfall.
The garden is also designed to be wildlife friendly. The wildflowers planted by cubs from the 5th/10th Horsham Scouts will grow to attract bees and butterflies in the spring, and other creatures such as dragonflies, birds and even frogs will be attracted to the shallow water. The cubs are keen to monitor the garden and record wildlife they find over the coming months and years.
It is hoped that this project will inspire other local communities to develop similar projects to manage water and make spaces for wildlife in their own villages and towns.
The ARC project summer 2016 newsletter is available to download - simply click on the link below to open / save it. We hope you enjoy reading it. Please share the newsletter with friends and colleagues.
The Arun and Rother Connections (ARC) project was highly commended at last night’s Charity Awards, the longest-running awards scheme in the charity sector, after being nominated for the Environment and Conservation award.
The RSPB is lead partner in the ARC project, which was shortlisted for the prestigious award in May, alongside stiff competition from the Eden Project and Keep Britain Tidy. The £2.2 million Heritage Lottery funded project brings together seven partner organisations and local communities, all working together to promote a rich, thriving river system in West Sussex where wildlife flourishes, and people are inspired to value and enjoy it.
First place in the Environment and Conservation category went to Keep Britain Tidy, for their innovative ‘We’re Watching You’ poster campaign.
Tania Mason, editorial director at Civil Society Media, which organises the Charity Awards, said:
“We had a record number of entries this year, and the standard was particularly high, so the RSPB and ARC Project partners should be very proud to have made the shortlist.
“For 16 years the Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do, and the rigorous judging process ensures that only the very best-run charities make it through.
The ten category winners were announced at a ceremony and dinner last night, Thursday 9 June at the Mermaid Theatre in London’s Blackfriars. The black-tie evening was hosted by former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull, joined by representatives of the shortlisted charities, including Mike Clark, Chief Executive of the RSPB, Fran Southgate of Sussex Wildlife Trust and Rachel Carless, ARC project manager.
The ARC project was inspired by commitments from a number of organisations to protect the area; which includes nationally and internationally important wildlife sites, and tackle the big conservation issues within it, such as disconnected habitats, invasive non-native species, pollution and erosion.
Rachel Carless, ARC Project Manager said,
“Engaging communities sits at the very heart of the project. Our activity programme is open to everyone and ranges from oral history projects with local people and river field trips, to developing rain gardens to combat pollution and local flooding issues. Having our work highly commended is a huge honour, and wouldn't have been possible without our partners, the support of local communities and almost 1000 volunteers”
The three-year project runs until November 2016, yet has already delivered significant results that will benefit wildlife and the surrounding community. Major engineering works have removed weirs to help a number of fish, including the endangered eel, which has declined in the UK by 95% in the last 25 years. Other successes include the restoration of wetland habitats like chalk streams, floodplain meadows and visitor improvements to three local nature reserves.
All 30 charities shortlisted were judged by an independent panel of sector leaders as having demonstrated exemplary best practice.
John Low, chief executive of Charities Aid Foundation, overall partner of the Charity Awards, said:
“CAF exists to support the amazing work of charities. Anyone looking to see some of the impressive ways in which charities make a difference would only need to take a look at the shortlisted nominees for this year’s Charity Awards.
“These are shining examples of charities at their very best, showing determined leadership and constantly innovating to support people in communities across the UK and beyond. It has been a difficult year for the charity sector and there are important lessons to take away from this. But it is no less vital that we continue to celebrate the success of charities which make such a difference to people’s lives in so many different ways.
“Recognising the achievements of charities, like those in this year’s shortlist, is a crucial part of how we continue to maintain and build a proud culture of caring for others and selfless generosity in Britain.”
Chris Corrigan, Regional Director for the Southeast said:
“The RSPB is delighted that the ARC project was highly commended for such a prestigious award. Seeing the benefits the project has had to the local community and to native wildlife in the area has already been a huge reward to our staff, partners and volunteers. This commendation provides us with a great opportunity to share this knowledge and inspire others to improve the wild spaces around them, for generations to come.”
Local people needed from June to August for the final year of Arun Valley oral history project
If you would like to share your memories about the Arun Valley and surrounding landscape with present and future generations, or know someone else that might, Arun and Rother Connections (ARC) would like to hear from you.
The Arun and Rother rivers catchment has rich culture, history and wildlife and the ARC project is recording this for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. Project Officer Deborah Coggles said “We want to record the real stories from local people, stories that are often missed from the history books”.
ARC is looking for 10 local people to share personal experiences over a friendly conversation and cup of tea. The interviews will be recorded using a handheld digital recorder (no video) and will only take an hour or so of your time, at your home or close by.
You’ll be asked to talk about one of more of the following topics; childhood memories and family life, village events, your profession or hobbies, the rivers, local wildlife and flooding. You are also welcome to suggest other relevant topics. Your opinions, stories and memories are more important than historic facts (although those are great too).
We are now in the third and final year of the project so this is the last opportunity to get involved. To date we have interviewed 17 residents from all over the Arun valley. We’ve heard from farmers, artists, retiree’s, wildlife enthusiasts and more.
Last year Rob from Pulborough spoke about starting a drop in centre for local residents “Everybody’s interesting, in my experience.”
This year we are particularly keen to hear from anyone new to the area or from a minority group that would like to share their thoughts on community life, the local landscape and wildlife.
You can read about our volunteer interviewer Harriett’s experience in year one of the project here She said of her involvement “My favourite bits, though, were the stories of locals over the last 70 years, from the lady whose garden well was found to be full of gin bottles after she died, to the man who sailed all the way from Bury to Amberley Castle in the floods, using an old door as a raft.”
We’ll share sound clips, images and recordings at our end of project exhibition in September and invite you and your families to a private viewing to celebrate. The recordings will be stored at the West Sussex Records Office at the end of the project.
For more information or to suggest someone you think may be interested in taking part please contact Deborah.email@example.com or call her on 01273 763378
We are delighted to announce that the ARC project has made the shortlist for this year’s Charity Awards, the longest-running and one of the most prestigious awards scheme in the charity sector.
All 30 charities shortlisted this year have been judged by an independent panel of sector leaders as having demonstrated outstanding best practice from which other organisations can learn.
The ten category winners, plus the recipients of the Overall Award for Excellence and the Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement, will be announced at a ceremony and dinner on Thursday 9 June at the Mermaid Theatre in London’s Blackfriars. The black-tie evening will be hosted by former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull, who will be joined by representatives of the shortlisted charities, alongside senior figures from the charity and civil society sector, and a smattering of celebrities from the worlds of theatre, television, music and sport.
Tania Mason, editorial director at Civil Society Media which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated the ARC Project on making the highly-coveted shortlist. She said: “We had a record number of entries this year, and the standard was particularly high, so the RSPB and ARC Project partners should be very proud to have made the shortlist”.
Watch this space for further announcements!
A breath of fresh air for West Sussex primary schools – FREE outdoor activities, teacher training and more!
This Spring/Summer term the Arun and Rother Connections (ARC) project wants to get young people up from their school desks out exploring, playing and learning in the best kind of classroom – The outdoors!
ARC has funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver a number of activities (free of charge) for West Sussex primary schools located within the ARC project area.
What’s on offer? - River field trips and activity days, a resource pack, forest school training and more!
Click HERE for the ARC project map
Click HERE to download the full program
Limited spaces available and funding runs out this August. Teachers will need to get in touch ASAP if they don’t want to miss grabbing a FREE space for their school.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org 01273 763 378
The ARC project winter 2015/2016 newsletter is available to download - simply click on the link below to open / save it. We hope you enjoy reading it. Please share the newsletter with friends and colleagues.
The ARC project summer newsletter is available to download - just click on the link below to open / save it. Please forward the link to this page to anyone you think may be interested in reading it.
There are now 255 different badges to collect on the ARC Explorer app!
We’ve added more reptile, mammal and tree species, like Badger, Rabbit, Chestnut, Larch and Elm so you can identify even more wildlife when exploring the Arun and Rother and surrounding countryside!
Remember that all records are sent to the Sussex Biodiversity Records Centre so the more you record, the greater the benefit to conservation in the area.
Visit www.arcexplorer.org.uk to find out more.
The ARC project winter newsletter is available to download - just click on the link below to open / save it. We hope you enjoy reading it. Please forward the link to this page to anyone you think may be interested in reading it.
arc-newsletter-winter-final.pdf (PDF. Right click, Save as).
Download the Solent and South Downs Fisheries and Biodiversity Winter Newsletter in which the Environment Agency celebrates some of their successes, particularly those delivered through working in partnership with others.
Read the latest update on the Sediment Pressures and Mitigation Option for the Rother (SMART) Project from Jennie Evans, the SMART PhD Student!
The Common Club-tailed dragonfly is now known to be much more widely distributed around the Arun and Rother rivers in West Sussex, thanks to surveys and river and wetland restoration work being carried out as part of the ARC project.
The Common Club-tail is a distinctive yellow and black dragonfly found near slow-flowing meandering rivers, which is under threat from water pollution, river dredging and habitat loss.
The Club-tailed dragonfly is very unusual in Sussex and is also listed as a vulnerable species in the UK. It is found only on the Arun and Rother and the Thames rivers in southern England, with only five other populations on UK rivers - the most significant of which is on the River Dee.
Surveyor Dave Sadler found Common Club-tails on the Rother and the Arun this summer at new locations around New Bridge and Houghton. He witnessed some fascinating new breeding behaviours including a female carrying eggs and a mating pair (pictured); all proof that they are breeding in the area.
The Common Club-tail has unique larvae with short bulbous antennae which are not seen on any other British species. It also has separate eyes which distinguish it from most other dragonfly species.
Adult Common Club-tails can very difficult to spot and are found in woodland as well as rivers. They spend a lot of time perching on the ground in bushes and in treetops. Because they prefer unpolluted water, their presence is an indication of the cleanliness of rivers.
“The ARC project is doing valuable work to support these vulnerable species and to strengthen their populations by improving river habitats.” said Fran Southgate of the Sussex Wildlife Trust. “The results of the survey are very good news and we hope that next year will see an expanding population of Common Club-tails across the wider Arun and Western Streams catchment.”
The Catchment Sensitive Farming newsletter Septmber 2014 is available to download - just click on the link below to open / save it. We hope you enjoy reading it. Please forward the link to this page to anyone you think may be interested in reading it.
The ARC project summer newsletter is available to download - just click on the link below to open / save it. We hope you enjoy reading it. Please forward the link to this page to anyone you think may be interested in reading it.
Read the latest update on the Sediment Pressures and Mitigation Option for the Rother (SMART) Project from Jennie Evans, the SMART PhD Student!
A recent fish survey at Shopham discovered the presence of a spawning sea lamprey on the new riffle. According to the Environment Agency this is the first record of spawning sea lamprey in the Rother. This is not a first for Sussex as they are seen regularly on the River Ouse but this is great news for our catchment. This highlights the success of the Western Rother Fisheries Enhancement Project which was completed in August 2013. For further information see Shopham Riffles Diary.