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 Fish removed as drought continues

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PostSubject: Fish removed as drought continues   Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:02 pm

22-Mar-2012
Action is being taken on a flood relief channel in Lincolnshire to reduce the impact of the drought on fish and other wildlife.

The Environment Agency has decided to remove fish from the Maxey Cut, which is located between Peterborough and Market Deeping, before the ongoing drought causes water levels to drop further.

Fish will be removed from the 9 km cut – which was created as a flood relief channel for the River Welland - in an operation which will take around two weeks to complete. They will be released into the Welland.

David Hawley, Northern Area Drought Manager, said: “The Maxey Cut is already showing signs of environmental stress as a result of the drought. Taking early action in a controlled manner is better for the fish as they will be spawning in April and May. Once the weather starts to warm up and weed growth increases, dissolved oxygen levels are likely to drop putting them under more stress. Early action also reduces the risk of disturbing breeding birds and will help to increase water levels within the River Welland itself.”

Water will be diverted from the Maxey Cut by opening sluice gates at Tallington into the Welland millstreams. This will allow the whole of the water flow to pass through Market Deeping and Deeping St James to help maintain the River Welland and its habitat. Flows through the towns will still be lower than normal, however, due to the low rainfall over the past year.

David said: “We have seen the lowest rainfall on record across Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and parts of Cambridgeshire over the last 16 months. The ongoing lack of rainfall and, in particular, two dry winters is leading to exceptionally low river flows and groundwater levels that are already below those recorded in 1976 in some locations. There has been 200mm less rainfall compared to the average over the same period.

“Without significant rainfall, the situation will deteriorate further as we move into spring and summer. Our role is to balance the needs of the environment and people. That is why it is vital that people do what they can to save water now. By using less water, we can reduce the effects of the drought on the environment.”

Flows will return to the Maxey Cut once the drought is over and flows in the River Welland return to normal. Fish will re-colonise the Maxey Cut naturally.

As well as taking action to safeguard the environment, the Environment Agency is working with local landowners and abstractors to help manage their continuing need for water. Members of the public are also being urged to play their part and Anglian Water is imposing a ban on the use of hosepipes from 5 April to reduce demand during the drought.
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