Bringing life back to the Salt Hill Stream

The Salt Hill Stream in Montem Park, Slough, is teeming with life after the latest release of 1,000 fish.

The release was part of a project involving partners from the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), Slough Borough Council, Thames Water and the Environment Agency (EA), with the aim of encouraging community involvement in caring for the stream, restoring biodiversity, improving water quality and reducing flood risk.

Stuart Keable, Fisheries Officer for the Lower Thames Catchment, said:

We’ve just released 1,000 fish of two species, chub and roach, as part of a stocking strategy which was set up separately but which fits in well with the Salt Hill Stream project. The fish came from the EA’s National Coarse Fish Rearing Unit in Calverton, Nottinghamshire, which is funded by rod licence money and raises nine species. This was our third release and we’re confident that the fish introduced two years ago have successfully spawned so these are now self-propagating populations.

There are now at least four species in the stream, with dace and perch alongside the chub and roach, and we’re delighted to be working with WWT’s Slough community wetlands project to ensure that plans for the stream cater for the fish population and help maintain the biodiversity.

Most people would shy away at the thought of entering an icy stream in December, but Stuart had no worries for the fish. He said:

They don’t mind the cold and this is a good time to introduce them as they’re now 18 months old: they’re not quite ready to spawn but will be next spring, so at the moment all their energy is going into getting big and healthy, which means at this age they’re best placed to survive.

The WWT plan to restore the Salt Hill Stream was officially launched in September when local schoolchildren, business leaders and Borough Council representatives joined WWT personnel and staff from Thames Water and the Environment Agency for an afternoon of activities.

Project leader Andy Graham, from WWT, said:

The fish release is great news as it’s helping to repair the Salt Hill Stream, which has been very poorly. Our project to transform the stream will be starting early in the New Year with the aim of creating habitat along the watercourse for wildlife, including fish, and we’re calling for members of the local community to join in and get involved.