River Lark clean up campaign earns national praise

Ian Hawkins, fishery officer of Bury St Edmunds Trout Club, and Nick Measham, from Salmon and Trout Conservation UK, on the River Lark. ANL-160209-170113001
Ian Hawkins, fishery officer of Bury St Edmunds Trout Club, and Nick Measham, from Salmon and Trout Conservation UK, on the River Lark. ANL-160209-170113001
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Volunteers who have battled to return the River Lark to its former trout stream glory have been praised by a national conservation body.

Volunteers from the Bury St Edmunds Trout Club and Lark Angling Preservation Society have spent years improving the river and their work has been praised by the Salmon and Trout Conservation UK (S&TC). For the next phase, the trout club is nursing nine million blue-winged olive mayfly eggs, brought 180 miles to repopulate the river,

Female blue winged olice mayfly
Picture: Stuart Crofts ANL-160209-170125001

Female blue winged olice mayfly Picture: Stuart Crofts ANL-160209-170125001

The S&TC is also now including the Lark on its national Riverfly Census which monitors the health of rivers by measuring their invertebrate population.

Its chief executive Paul Knight said: “Our 2015 census results have highlighted that many of our iconic rivers are suffering from serious pollution problems. However, the River Lark project sheds a beacon of light and demonstrates that individual groups can really make a difference.

“The volunteers on the Lark should be congratulated for their relentless determination to succeed.”

Ian Hawkins, the trout club’s fishery officer, with Glenn Smithson and other volunteers from the two clubs have spent a decade improving the river and even returning parts canalised in past centuries to meandering courses.

Ian praised work done by the late Dr Nigel Holmes to improve the river’s flow. He added: “We have ensured the sympathetic planting of the river with a wide range of native water marginal species sought for their added colour and nectar provision to attract insects.”

Blue winged olive mayflies were lost after an oil leak polluted the river in 2011, but the volunteers have brought nine million eggs from Wiltshire which will be released into the river in March.