Winter Water Walks

Well, the frost-rimed fields around my house suggest winter sure is back, and yesterday when the sun got up, I made my first of the seasonal walks. But I’m not saying even remotely where, as this little gem is not up to me to reveal. I’m talking about it for two reasons, good news and bad.

Good news first. If ever we wanted to demonstrate what good river management is all about, look no further than these photographs. Lovely meanders and bends. Streamy glides. Glorious riffles. Deep pools. Abundant woody debris. Secure cattle fencing, placed well back from the bank. Gravels and ranunculus looking strong. Even a salmon redd which last week had a fish on it… and accompanying brown trout. All in all, a testament to good river husbandry, and a credit to those who have achieved that.

But then I met a farmer who talked about the Wye phosphate problem, and the role of Powys in this. He saw little chance of a solution. Chicken producers fixated on profit. Loopholes in the planning consents that allow too many units, too many birds, and not enough in the way of manure management plans. No intention to achieve safe ecological disposal of waste, as this is too expensive and time-consuming. Very little in the way of policing. Powys politics very much in the hands of farmers, so little chance of change. The hullabaloo now will die down, and chicken numbers will grow exponentially.

Pragmatic? Correct? Inevitable? Or does the clamour for change continue?

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Isn’t it time for us all to be more realistic and less emotional about catch and release?