“Thinking ‘Trout Drought'”

Lindsey McEwen, of the University of the West of England, looks forward to the future of the River Frome catchment and the effects of the weather on an iconic fish species.

Lindsey McEwen: I did trout drought, in the Frome catchment, in the 2050s and I think one of the things that’s come through, quite strongly, speaking to people here, is trout is one of the iconic species and trout health has been one of the iconic species, in the Frome catchment. But it’s challenged, in various ways, because of the weirs and the impediments. This one’s looking quite happy but, actually, then I realised they weren’t like rockets so, actually, they need to be horizontal. The next one was thinking about the climate change, in terms of winter or summer. We’ve seen all these scenarios but how does that pattern of less rainfall, more rainfall, over different seasons, and more evapo-transpiration translate into the fish life-cycle and thinking about, in terms of the seasonality and that about when the fish migrate or otherwise when they spawn and make their reds, etcetera, etcetera. So thinking about is, in those terms, makes it locally relevant. And then I went, as well, there’s two possibilities going forward. I have a situation, here, where drought is a lot of heat, which is a bit of a myth, I guess, but it’s in my diagram. And the weir’s sad puddle, with fish struggling and dying and populations going down and the Frome unconnected. And then, the other scenario is about the Frome reconnected, where there’s increased connection and thinking about the river but in the wider context or its flood plain and its catchment, in terms of things like storage and SUDS and thinking about how you manage times of excess and times of deficit.


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