12 Days of Rivers Trusts — Day 7: Introducing Ballinderry Rivers Trust

Jayne Mann


When did Ballinderry Rivers Trust form? The Trust formed as a river association in 1984 and changed its name to Ballinderry Rivers Trust in 2011. How many people work at your Trust? Just 3 people who do everything from river improvement projects to cleaning the toilet. What are the main issues with Rivers in your catchment? Water quality varies across the whole catchment but sediment getting off the land and into the river is a big problem. It’s bad for our rivers because it smothers the gravel in the river bed, impacting on the survival of trout and salmon eggs and on juvenile freshwater pearl mussels, it is also bad for landowners as they are losing the precious soil they rely on for crop growth. Reducing soil loss is a win-win for rivers and for farmers. Are there any particular rivers keeping you up at night and why? They all do. The Ballinderry River is home to some of Europe’s most endangered and threatened species, including the freshwater pearl mussel, white-clawed crayfish, Atlantic salmon, European eel and the Daubenton’s bat. Damage to water quality and habitat can have a devastating impact on these species. We all need to work together to make sure that the river is as clean and healthy as it can be, otherwise we risk losing these precious creatures forever. Why is this your favourite photo of the year? It may seem a bit of a strange choice as it isn’t a photo of a river but we have been doing a lot of river clean-ups this year and this photo shows some of the riverbank littering that is now safely disposed of instead of washing down our river and streams and into our oceans. In this litter pick alone, we gathered up a whole trailer load of plastics including over 60 drinks bottles, bail wrapping and food cartons; as well as meters of cabling, carpet, 10 bin bags of household waste, 24 tyres and a microwave, as well as other items. At least we have stopped it getting washed into the Killymoon/Ballinderry River, Lough Neagh and on to the beautiful north coast. What key issue or project will you be hoping to tackle in 2019? We will be working with landowners to reduce the amount of silt entering the river as a result of soil loss from the land. We also hope to undertake fisheries habitat restoration work to help our Atlantic salmon and trout – it will also help us contribute the International Year of the Salmon in 2019. Any Christmas wishes or New Year’s resolutions for the Trust this year? Our Christmas wish is that everyone gives a thought for the river this Christmas and doesn’t pour their cooking oil and turkey fat down the drain – bag it and bin it instead… don't give the Ballinderry River a stomach ache this Christmas by making your septic tank or local sewer stop working properly. Our New Year resolution is to encourage people to enjoy the Ballinderry River and Lough Neagh by getting out and walking along our town and country riverside paths. Visit the Ballinderry Rivers Trust website
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