About the Trust

Who are we and what do we do

Formed in March 2011 through the merger of two longstanding river based conservation societies & members of the umbrella Rivers Trust organisation, OART is a registered charity, comprised predominantly of volunteers with 2 contracted staff members. A volunteer task force forms an integral part of OART and undertakes a range of projects across the catchment from site maintenance and clearance to restoration of spawning habitat and upstream access for migratory fish.

To date OART (and its predecessors) have completed 22 river restoration projects through the DEFRA River Improvement Fund. These projects have focused on Water Framework directive (WFD) objectives for failing water bodies to reach ‘good ecological status’. In addition long term biological and chemical water quality monitoring is been undertaken through the catchment with results fed back to the Environment Agency (EA). OART are also the lead organisation for Sea Trout monitoring projects within the catchment including scale pattern analysis, stock description, Redd counts in tributaries where sea trout spawn and a study of the migratory behaviour of juveniles. We are also participants in the Atlantic ARC project, which involves a study of the genetics of sea trout in individual south coast rivers. OART are instrumental in the local PINPOINT project, working with farmers/landowners to promote good practice and gain a better understanding of the sensitivity of water sediment and solute movement. The project is looking to place diffuse pollution in a wider context, helping stakeholders cope with climate change and development pressures.

We are partners for the Environment Agency Middle Ouse Restoration of Physical Habitats (MORPH) project, covering 15 sites where structures are an obstruction to fish migration and downstream flood risk can be reduced through morphological changes.

The diagram below illustrates the diversity of activities the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust undertakes and shows how we link into local, national and European projects.

The Committee & Members

The members of OART are as important as the rivers they strive to protect. The rivers Ouse and Adur are at the heart of our local heritage and offer a range of services to humans and wildlife.

The OART committee contains a wide range of knowledge of the environment and in many cases lifelong experience of the rivers. From a range of backgrounds the committee contains a wealth of knowledge with one of our members, Jim Smith, having worked and lived in the Ouse catchment for 50+ years. The committee is made up of people not only from wildlife or ecological/environmental backgrounds but also those who may not have industry recognised qualifications but do have a passion for the preservation of the rivers and their associated habitats.

It is through the work of the committee and dedication of our members that OART has become a leading body within the Ouse and Adur catchment, undertaking restoration projects and being a proactive ‘on the ground’ organisation which works hard to engage as many people as possible in their local environment.

How We Achieve Our Aims

  • We undertake a diverse range of river restoration and enhancement projects ranging through gravel implementation for increased spawning grounds to creation of eel passes and easement of fish passage through in channel obstructions.
  • We monitor the biological and chemical status of the rivers ensuring the diverse life of the river corridor is being cared for.
  • We campaign for improvements in water quality, particularly lobbying against the licensed discharge of untreated sewage into our rivers and their tributaries.
  • We are actively involved in The Rivers Trust PINPOINT programme which looks to promote catchment sensitive farming by encouraging land managers and owners to manage their land in ways sympathetic to the life of the river.
  • We have a dedicated volunteer task force which undertakes a range of projects to enhance and clean up the river.
  • We support projects at both undergraduate and post-graduate level for students and research teams from local universities and colleges.
  • We provide information to wider audiences through presentations at local events and to other groups in order to publicise our work.

Jim the Fish

Jim's Diary

Country ramblings from OART field officer Jim Smith

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