Fishery Management Report

Willow Planting At Shopham

Large areas of the Rother have lost the resident alders to phytophthora disease. These trees provided valuable cover to the river as well as a home for insect life. The roots of river side trees also help stabilise the banks and the cover they provide keeps the sun off the water creating cooler areas which many fish species favour for spawning.

In December 2013 purpose grown black poplar saplings were planted by two ARRT organised work parties. In the morning the sapling were planted by Petworth and Bognor Angling Club members on the south bank in the riffle area. In the afternoon further trees were planted by pupils from Duncton Primary school around the refuge area created upstream from Shopham bridge.

This was all part of the Riffle development at Shopham. We followed this up with a planting of willow sapling in 2014. Further details and pictures of this planting can be found HERE. Unfortunately the majority of these trees were washed away in the floods or died in the dry summer.

In March 2015, during one of the work parties at Hurston Lane, Mick Greenway cut down some willow whips (saplings) from the island in the middle of the Match Pond. Nelson Keet suggested that rather than planting immediately these were kept in water so that they could develop roots. This advice was followed and 60 or so whips were treated in this way. The majority of these developed roots and these were then planted in the fenced off area on the south bank, by the riffles, at various heights on the bank by Richard Burbridge, Steve Howe and Mick Greenway.

In addition, on the North bank the whips were planted down at water level by Richard, who risked filling his boots with water. Some of the whips planted high up south bank died over the summer but some survived and had grown successfully along with those planted closer to the water.

It was decided to plant some more whips and again Mick, with his trusty saw, cut 70 plus whips from the island on Hurston Match Pond in March 2016. The whips were deliberately cut thicker to give them more chance of survival and were again kept in buckets of water. They developed stronger roots than those planted previously and gave high hopes for success. In May 2016 Steve Howe, Martin Cornish and Mick went up to Shopham on a pleasant evening to carry out the planting.

Martin & steve 1
Martin and Steve in discussion
Martin and Steve 2
Getting down to planting

Again the main planting was on the south bank including some at water level. Whilst planting them it was noticed that there were still a couple of the original ARRT saplings surviving. Mick had donned his chesties this time to avoid any floodings and planted the saplings along the north bank at water level. Whilst doing this he noted that the majority of those planted in 2015 had survived along with some planted half way up the bank. It was also interesting to note that fish have started to populate this area; however Mick found them down the deeper edges, not on shallows as would have been expected.
Planted willow whips

The result: These willows will hopefully grow on well over the next few years