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Norfolk’s Keeping Rivers Cool Initiative

January 13, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


h/t Dave Ward 




Nutter alert in Norwich!

The EDP reports:


The Norfolk Rivers Trust, working in partnership with the Environment Agency, is planting 1,300 trees along the banks of the River Bure and the River Yare under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative.

The project aims to reduce water temperature in the river by providing shade, and also to create new food sources for the many organisms found in freshwater ecosystems.

About 700 trees – including common alder, dogwood, hawthorn, goat willow and silver birch – were planted at a site near Buxton this week, with the rest destined for smaller sites along the two rivers during the rest of the two-week project.

Norfolk Rivers Trust project officer Liam Reynolds said: “We’re planting all our trees in the riparian zone, essentially the first metre of the river bank. By planting there they overhang the river, which reduces the impact of the hot summers and climate change as much as possible, and the knock-on effect on the various species of fish and invertebrates.


Norfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYNorfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY


“By planting the trees we expect the water temperature to stop rising. With hotter summers predicted in the future it is likely the temperature of rivers will increase. If the river temperature was to rise by four degrees in the space of a few weeks it will have a big knock-on effect on fish like brown trout, and the less hardy fish will die. We are trying to avoid those impacts.

“The initial benefit is cover for the fish to protect them from predation, and it provides an increased food source dropping into the river for invertebrates. So it also improves the food chain.”

Mr Reynolds said the scheme would benefit fish including brown trout, dace, chub, pike and eels.

“Here, as it is quite a deep river, the temperature rises are not going to be that significant, but there are other sites on the Yare where we are working on shallow water where there are some really nice brown trout and the difference of a few degrees could have a big effect,” he said.


Norfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYNorfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY


The tree-planting was carried out with the help of about 20 volunteers from the Norfolk Rivers Trust and The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).

Mr Reynolds said: “Without volunteers we wouldn’t have the manpower to do what we do, so we are extremely grateful to the people who give up their time to help.”

The Norfolk Rivers Trust was established in 2011 with the objective of conserving the county’s rivers and wetlands, and “enhancing the value of the aquatic landscape through encouraging natural processes, with benefits for wildlife and people”.



Meanwhile, back in the real world:




According to Wikipedia, brown trout have been successfully introduced in to countries like Australia, South Africa and Kenya. I don’t think they have much to worry about British summers!

  1. January 13, 2016 1:56 pm

    ‘By planting the trees we expect the water temperature to stop rising.’

    This is a river – as in ‘Keeping Rivers Cool initiative’.

    Rivers flow, trees stand still. Who are they kidding apart from themselves?

  2. Richard Walker permalink
    January 13, 2016 2:03 pm

    Where is the scientific experimental evidence to support the claim?

    • January 13, 2016 8:40 pm

      See my post below for some, albeit sonewhat different circumstances.

  3. Ian Magness permalink
    January 13, 2016 2:05 pm

    “The initial benefit is cover for the fish to protect them from predation, and it provides an increased food source dropping into the river for invertebrates. So it also improves the food chain.”

    OH MY GOD! Not just totally deluded AGW nutters but people who clearly don’t have the first idea about fish and fishery management.
    Fact 1: In some parts of theses isles where trees have been left to create a complete canopy over small rivers, the aquatic plants that fish and invertebrates live amongst have died off due to lack of light, leaving barren river gravels of limited ecologically productive use. So, selective tree removal is being carried out in some areas to return the situation to a natural balance to the eventual benefit of all parts of the aquatic food chain. The sun needs to be able to get in for optimum productivity!
    Fact 2: Fish do eat invertebrates falling off trees, but these make up only a tiny part of their natural food and only for very limited times of the year (think insect life-cycles). The great majority of food items come from within the water.
    Fact 3: The predators referred to must be birds like kingfishers, herons, dippers and fish-eating birds like sawbills and grebes, or mammals like otters and mink. Of all these, the only ones that could be affected by new trees are the kingfishers – and they could only BENEFIT from more trees creating more hunting perches.
    You really couldn’t make this nonsense up.

  4. The Old Bloke permalink
    January 13, 2016 2:07 pm

    Why don’t they just put ice cubes in the river?

    • Svend Ferdinandsen permalink
      January 13, 2016 7:38 pm

      Yes, and what about winter times when the water gets cold. Would they put heating elements in the water to keep it at the right temperature for the fish.

    • January 17, 2016 3:27 am

      don’t give them ideas, they will get Gov. funding to do that.

  5. January 13, 2016 2:17 pm

    A simple experiment, suitable for a primary school science class would be to measure the water temperature at two locations, before and within the section of trees. The economics class could then work out the cost in thousands of pounds per hundredth of a degree.

    The biology class may wish to ponder why there were no trees there before, and what that implies for the fate of the newly planted trees.

  6. Joe Public permalink
    January 13, 2016 2:35 pm

    Naturally pre-poached trout would save a lot of fossil fuel otherwise used to cook them after they’ve been caught & slaughtered.

  7. Jackington permalink
    January 13, 2016 2:59 pm

    Roll on these hot summers – I wish!

  8. Tony mckenna permalink
    January 13, 2016 3:40 pm

    Spout nonsense and get a grant or talk sensibly and don’t get a grant.

  9. NeilC permalink
    January 13, 2016 3:55 pm

    When there hasn’t been any warming for the last 20 years in the UK, probably as long as most of them have been alive. Have they actually measured the river temperatures to check if they have warmed? Or do they believe anything there are taught at school or university, whether it is nonsense or not? I suppose they are rhetorical questions.

  10. Green Sand permalink
    January 13, 2016 3:59 pm


    • Billy Liar permalink
      January 13, 2016 11:19 pm

      That about sums it up!

    • THX1138 permalink
      January 14, 2016 1:14 pm

      For everybody else’s benefit: NfN = Normal for Norfolk (I had to look it up).

  11. tom0mason permalink
    January 13, 2016 4:05 pm

    Yet more wasted time and money.
    This sounds so much like the nonsense spouted by Duncan Ray, James Morison and Mark Broadmeadow for the Forestry Commission back in 2010, when they reported that more drought tolerant tree had to be planted.

    Their report is called “Climate change: impacts and adaptation in England’s woodlands”

    for more details on their justification for wasted taxes.

  12. BLACK PEARL permalink
    January 13, 2016 4:07 pm

    Dont know about fish but I did read sometime in the past that shaded rivers dont silt up as quickly. Something to do with the ability of sediment to be held in the slightly cooler denser water rather than being released !

  13. January 13, 2016 4:11 pm

    Well, observers beat me to many points: trees would provide predator perches, why aren’t there trees already, what would be the downsides of such a project, etc. Also, I noticed the flatness of the area and questioned the stableness of the “river” meanders or the ability of such vegetation to take hold…it is just the botanist/ecologist/ecosystematist in me being properly cynical. One thing the wizards of smart in the green movement never consider is history and facts.

    There has been some successful stream restoration in the WV mountains. This has been to restore the former stream action after log railroads changed them a century ago. But these are rocky mountain streams, not flat meanders. Another was addressed after storms. These show careful work to use natural forces to change the stream bottoms, etc. Both articles appeared on the WV Outdoors page of WV MetroNews.

  14. woodsy42 permalink
    January 13, 2016 4:57 pm

    Trees reduce wind. Wind blowing over water causes increased evaporation. Evaporation causes evaporative cooling as the latent heat is taken from the water. Therefore more trees = less evaporation and hence warmer water.

  15. Pathway permalink
    January 13, 2016 5:38 pm

    But they get to feel better about themselves and isn’t that the real point of the exercise?

    • John Palmer permalink
      January 13, 2016 7:19 pm

      +1 – precisely!!
      Sadly, this is exactly the way that this insidious, quasi-religious guff is being peddled so successfully by the Green Blob. You get a nice, warm feeling, the NGO’s or whoever get the dosh and there’s no losers…. except we taxpayers. But as vile, rich, over-consumers, we deserve to be taught a lesson!!
      There you go….. their lies will eventually (hopefully) be found out.

      • Dave Ward permalink
        January 13, 2016 7:43 pm

        “The NGO’s or whoever get the dosh”

        I had a look at their accounts and the vast majority of “voluntary income” comes in the form of grants from 3 sources: the EA, DEFRA & WWF

        Nuff Said…

      • January 13, 2016 8:57 pm

        Absolutely correct. You don’t have to DO anything, just have the proper “feelings” and you’re off the hook. You’ve “done something” when you haven’t don’t anything or perhaps done harm. Nevermind

  16. January 13, 2016 5:51 pm

    Why not install hydro generation plants instead. They extract the potential and kinetic energy from the water to make electricity. That might cool the water a bit.

  17. January 13, 2016 7:16 pm

    This will be a fitting post for this blog. The idea may not be foolish. I am an avid trout fisherman (fly fishing) in Wisconsin in the Uplands around my dairy farm. There was a serious study of 12 trout streams where the headwaters held brookies but the lower reaches only held browns. These streams tend to run through treeless cow pasture and then short forested sections. In pasture, summer water temp increased about 1C/km. In forested stream sections, the water actually cooled about 0.5C/km. The cooling is from the mingling with cold groundwater. The tree shade simply prevents the water from warming.
    The study is available on line from U. Wisconsin and from Wisconsin DNR.

    The other benefit of planting sections of trees along pasture streambanks is tends to help keep cows out of the stream (they can chew cud resting in shade rather than standing in stream), and the rootstock tends to prevent cow induced bank erosion. Both improve water quality. Makes fly casting more challenging (lots of roll casts), but between insect hatches the trout will usually be in the shaded pools.

    • January 13, 2016 7:35 pm

      Forgot to say, introduced browns are much more tolerant of warm water. Brookies are both a sportier and better tasting trout, but cannot tolerate summer water over 22C. The point of the research was how to expand native brook trout habitat in the lower and middle part of western Wisconsin (chock full of trout streams in the hilly region called the Uplands).

      • January 13, 2016 8:44 pm

        I prefer them with batter on and chips!

      • AZ1971 permalink
        January 13, 2016 9:57 pm

        I’m originally from Wisconsin as well and read about the studies in the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. I wish I could say I was a fly fisherman or even avid fisherman but I haven’t wet a line in about 15 years now.

        It is true that the forested parts of the rivers cool the waters that flow under the canopy and that open areas are warmer. Part of that is due to slower stream flow in the lower stretches as the streams widen out. I have an idea on how to cool and oxygenate streams which do NOT require planting stream-side canopy but lack the funding to implement such a scheme. Trees are cheaper comparatively speaking, but they do impinge on the fly fisherman’s enjoyment of casting his (or her) line. It’s always a trade-off.

        One only has to look at the size and depth of rivers in central and northern Wisconsin during its logging heydays to see that land-use change is really what’s resulted in massive change. Precipitation that fell on centuries-old white pine forests had to slowly soak through the leaf litter and percolate through the spongy soil to be (again) slowly released in the form of springs. Once the forests were logged off and the soils overturned to make way for agriculture, that cycle was broken. Now it just runs off. Unless the Wisconsin DNR recognizes that stream flow will inevitably slow as springs dry up and run-off is accelerated, it won’t matter how many trees are planted to keep your brookies nice and cool (fyi, I much prefer brookies over browns any day of the week too!)

    • January 14, 2016 3:31 am

      True. This is a good project. They just used what they could to get funding in this crazy world. They are doing the work of a thousand watermelons, green on the outside, red on the inside.

  18. January 13, 2016 7:49 pm

    Here you go. Trout farming in “hot” Australia. We regularly bought trout at a local supermarket in Sydney. Delicious and cheap.

  19. AndyG55 permalink
    January 13, 2016 9:07 pm

    Trees grow.. block the river course, flooding upstream.

    Easy to predict.

    • January 14, 2016 12:23 am

      In the Wisconsin Uplands, we yank any fallen tree out of any watercourse with logging chains and our ag tractors, set it aside to season for a year on the woodpile, then convert to firewood stored seasoned, dry, sheltered. Everybody in our neck of the woods mainly heats with firewood, downed trees or logging crowns. Mind, we can get weeks at a time with temps below 0F and windchill far below that. Even the cows and horses have to be sheltered. More expensive Propane is supplemental (who wants to get up at 2am to stoke the wood firebox) and for hot water heaters and cooking stoves. Just a simple farming perspective, useless elsewhere.

      • AndyG55 permalink
        January 14, 2016 6:00 am

        The way to warm things up around here is to turn off the air-con !!!

        Currently 30C,with dark clouds holding in the heat and 70% humidity. Yuck!

        Thunderstorms tonight almost certainly, and tomorrow, seeing as I’m off work, will be windy and rainy. 😦

  20. January 13, 2016 9:55 pm

    The yearly dump of rotting leaves will have a beneficial effect.
    That will soak up the available oxygen and slow the flow of water.
    This in turn will encourage meandering, thus spreading the benefits over a greater area.

  21. AZ1971 permalink
    January 13, 2016 10:02 pm

    This is really an effort to improve stream habitat, not “cool a river”. Leaf litter and other detritus provides both habitat and a food source for the microbiome of the stream, which is the foundation of the food web that will eventually lead towards more and bigger trout. Anyone who has spent time fishing these kinds of small streams and rivers knows this.

  22. Adam Gallon permalink
    January 13, 2016 10:12 pm

    Let’s look at Mr Reynold’s bio.
    “Liam Reynolds BSc – Catchment Based Approach Officer
    Liam is a recent graduate of the Royal Agricultural University where he studied Countryside Management. He has a background in freshwater conservation, highlighted by his employment with the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture as a Freshwater Fisheries Officer. He will now be working on various projects aiming to enhance the overall biodiversity of Norfolks riverine ecosystems.”
    Catchment Based Approach Officer, what the hell is a Catchment Based Approach Officer?
    Still at least he’s got C&G Certs in Brushcutters!

  23. January 14, 2016 3:28 am

    Proper tree replacement, using trees that the fish initially shared the ecosystem with, will enhance the river stream environment. There is no need for them to employ the AGW sales talk. This can be a worthy project in and of itself. Old fashioned environmentalism has proven in America to be the most effect. Just as Ducks Unlimited.

    ps. Some of those trees are too close to the bank, well within the flood zone. They are a bit too close together and I do not see any depth, which is esential for seed production. There should be back trees, rather randomly integrated in the tree clump. I like the diversity. I hope they know to mix.

    • January 14, 2016 11:08 am

      What struck me was that trees were not growing there naturally. After all there seem plenty around, and as far as I know they have not been chopped down.

  24. Peter permalink
    January 14, 2016 9:26 am

    More trees = more shade = less grass and low-growing undergrowth = more erosion = more silt = less suitable habitat for fish and invertebrates (and increased likely hood of flooding!)

  25. Cara permalink
    January 14, 2016 1:37 pm

    The streams where brown trout live in Kenya are high up in the Highlands, fast running and very cold.

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