New Video On The Clearwater Campaign


Click on the arrow to watch our latest Clearwater Campaign video which gives an update on what has been achieved so far. The YouTube link is here.

John Sutton, who produced the video for Fleet Pond Society, tells us about his interesting background and current conservation and media interests:

“I retired from the Environment Agency last June after 40yrs in the water industry. During that time I worked on fish farms and commercial freshwater fisheries before joining Thames Water Authority (pre-privatisation), then its successors, the National Rivers Authority and the EA.

During that time I also managed ecology and biodiversity teams, but my primary responsibility was implementing our statutory duty to ‘maintain, develop and improve fisheries’. My patch was the Thames catchment, from the river’s source in Gloucestershire to the tideway, its tributaries and any lake, pond or canal in the catchment.

My first contact with Fleet Pond was in the 1980’s. We were asked to help improve water quality by removing bream. We eventually took out over 2 tonnes of this bottom feeding species using large seine nets. But I began to realise that the bream were a symptom of the water quality problem, not the cause. The fine sediment carried into the lake by the Gelvert Stream and nutrients by the Brookly Stream were the main factors influencing Fleet Pond’s ecology.

In the following years I worked closely with Hart DC, English Nature (now Natural England), Fleet Pond Society and Defence Estates to tackle erosion in the Gelvert’s catchment, particularly at Long Valley. More recently I was able to secure significant resources from the Environment Agency’s Water Framework Directive budget to fund the desilting and restoration works on the Pond.

Reporting on environmental incidents such as pollutions, droughts and floods was an important part of my job. I routinely provided interviews and photographs for local media and made a number of short videos to promote EA projects.

When I left the Agency I set up Clearwater Photography UK. Last autumn, at one of the working parties at the lake, Terry Austin asked me to help him produce a video to show FPS supporters what had been achieved in 2014 with their help. Using clips from my own library, along with the great time-lapse sequence of Lions’ View construction filmed by the Fleet Lions, stills of the dipping platform and clips I shot of recent LOSW activities, we put together Clearwater 2.

The first Clearwater video featured none other than Chris Packham, so no pressure! In the event, Cathy Holden did an excellent voiceover, Terry didn’t capsize the boat and the scouts behaved impeccably. Terry is already talking about Clearwater 3, I’m thinking of emigrating!

Seriously, I’ve worked with many voluntary groups in the past and FPS is up there with the best of them. It does a fantastic job in partnership with Hart Countryside Service and is deservedly well respected. I very much hope I can continue to use my experience and knowledge to support a great team. My waders are ready and waiting!”

You can see the first Clearwater video on YouTube here (produced in 2010).

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