River Mimram at Tewinbury - a healthy stretch of chalk stream
We have some of the rarest ecosystems in the world in Hertfordshire and they are under threat.
Chalk streams are incredibly important, due to their global rarity, unique ecology and threatened status. There are no more than 200 in the world. They face a number of threats: low flows due to drought and abstraction (where water is pumped from the ground to supply the local population), pollution from urban and agricultural sources, invasive species and past physical modifications, such as weirs and dredging.
What the Trust is doing
We are coordinating various practical restoration projects including lowering weirs, removing scrub and trees that make rivers too shady, and installing various in-channel features to improve river habitats. We’re also helping to coordinate the mapping and removal of invasive plant species such as Himalayan balsam.
Our project is raising awareness of the threats that face our chalk rivers - in particular, the link between high water usage and the problems of low flow in our rivers.
Listen to our former Project Officer, Charlie Bell, talking on BBC Radio 4's Face the Facts
Watch our short film:
In 2013 the Chalk Streams Charter was launched from the River Beane near Stevenage, a national campaign to highlight the plight of these rare habitats.
We are working closely with farmers, local communities, river groups, the private sector, statutory bodies and volunteers. Managing a river catchment is a huge task, and no individual or group can succeed on their own. Collaboration is key to raising awareness of the issues and tackling large-scale problems such as poor water quality.
Read more about the development of Catchment Management Plans on the River Lea Catchment Partnership website: www.riverleacatchment.org.uk/