Safeguarding future of the River Ouse

THE future looks bright for two of the most important waterways in Sussex, the annual meeting of the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust (OART) heard.

Members were delighted to learn that as a result of their continuing close relationship with the Environment Agency, the rivers have been designated as pilot catchments for the Water Framework Directive.

This means that steps will be taken not only to reduce pollution and the further deterioration of aquatic water systems, but also to enhance their ecological status.

So far this year OART’s task force volunteers have cleared debris from around a weir at Buxted Park in readiness for the Environment Agency to remove the actual weir. This will allow the river to regain its natural course.

At East Mascalls, on the River Ouse near Lindfield, a pass is being built beside a weir to enable fish to travel freely up and down the river.

The remains of a collapsed footbridge has been re-removed and woody debris re-aligned to improve the flow of a delightful stream near Steyning which has the less than delightful name of The Black Sewer.

Volunteers are currently being trained to carry out river bank surveys. As always, more volunteers are much needed.

The annual meeting concluded with Jenny Barnard presenting the Tony Barnard Award to local East Sussex County Councillor Rosalyn St Pierre in recognition of her support for the Trust. In particular she has catered cheerfully for the many meetings at her house.

OART is pleased to invite anyone with an interest in rivers to attend a series of four free lectures to be held at the Linklater Pavilion in Lewes.

The lectures will start at 7.30pm and the first is scheduled for Wednesday, September 26.

This is entitled ‘The River Ouse from the Source to Newhaven’ and will be presented by Olivia Laing.

On Saturday, September 29, OART will be holding an open day at the Sussex Wildlife Trust’s headquarters at Woods Mill near Henfield.

Further information about OART’s activities can be found on the website www.oart.org.uk