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Hixon brook work boosts Staffordshire wildlife

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

By Tony Lennox

Hixon brook work boosts Staffordshire wildlife

Gayton Brook

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A WEIR that was preventing fish from migrating on Gayton Brook, near Hixon, has been removed by the Environment Agency.

The work has been carried out as part of the Gayton Brook Catchment Restoration Project which was set up to tackle issues in the failing watercourse, in partnership with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

The project was launched in 2010 and identified two weirs in the Gayton Brook catchment that were barriers to fish migration, and major contributory factors to the watercourse falling below good ecological status.

The final weir, which has been removed in stages to minimise the impacts of sediment in the water, now opens up the entire Gayton Brook catchment and will allow fish to migrate throughout the whole watercourse. The first weir was removed in 2013.

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The Environment Agency will be measuring the success of removing the weirs by incorporating the Gayton Brook in future fish surveys.

Dan Johnson, project leader at the Environment Agency, said: “Removing Gayton Mill Weir represents a significant step towards achieving Good Ecological Status in a failing water body.

“The Gayton Brook project is an excellent template for habitat restoration schemes at the catchment level and demonstrates what can be achieved by working strategically with partners.”

The project has also involved carrying out ecological surveys, holding advisory workshops for local farmers, and making improvements to habitats including de-culverting and enhancing water quality.

Nick Mott, Senior Wetlands Ecologist at the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted with what has been achieved over the past four years along the Gayton Brook and its tributaries.

“Significant progress has been achieved for wildlife and water quality.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the farmers, private landowners, estates, fishing clubs and other organisations who engaged with the project to help deliver the work.”

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