A NEW charity celebrating gaining more than £100,000 worth of funding to protect rivers in West Sussex welcomed a special guest to its first annual report.
The Arun and Rother Rivers Trust (ARRT) welcomed Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert at the launch of its first annual report.
It is one of the newest members of the national Rivers Trust network.
All the trustees are volunteers and work in partnership with angling clubs and landowners to take care of the Arun and Rother rivers and improve the health of the waters.
The trust’s chairman, Sir Sebastian Anstruther, invited Mr Herbert to see one of the charity’s projects and to receive the first of its annual reports.
They visited a completed project at Shopham Bridge, near Petworth.
In 2012, ARRT successfully bid for just over £100,000 of government funding to enhance the Western Rother at Shopham Bridge, south of Petworth.
ARRT has worked closely in partnership with the Wild Trout Trust and the Petworth and Bognor Angling Club to provide habitat improvements, creating a better environment for fish.
This has been achieved with the construction of a 60m-long stone and gravel riffle and the creation of a refuge where the fish can escape forceful river flows during heavy rainfall and prevent them being washed towards the sea.
Sir Sebastian Anstruther said: “Launching our first annual report is an important milestone.
“We are immensely proud of what we have achieved in such a short time – this project at Shopham is just one example – and we are delighted to have Nick Herbert here to see the results of our work first-hand.”
Mr Herbert said: “I was fascinated to see the river projects on the Rother and impressed by everything the new trust has done in a short time.
“We think of the Downs as characterising the landscape, but our rivers are equally significant, and they are under some stress.
“The trust is doing great work with limited funds to conserve the Arun and Rother rivers, especially in bringing together people who share a common interest in protecting and improving these important natural resources.
“I hope the trust continues to grow in strength.”