• River Otter to have a health check

    26th June 2012 | News | Claire
  • The 12 month long pilot starts its work on the river Otter and its tributaries, assessing the overall health of the river system and helping to coordinate existing and developing new conservation projects and activities across the area.

    Devon Wildlife Trust is teaming up with the Environment Agency to carry out the work.

    The objectives are centred on the European Water Framework Directive which aims to enhance and maintain the ecological status of water bodies throughout the Union. Catchments across Europe have been studied and assessed on a range of criteria including water quality, biodiversity and human impacts with the target of getting all water bodies up to a good standard by 2015.

    Scott West from Devon Wildlife Trust who is spearheading the project said: “Rivers are very much the heart of the Water Framework Directive and if we can improve this treasured environment there are many positive knock-on benefits to other habitats and wildlife. This exciting new initiative aims to bring together existing work within the Otter catchment, so we are keen to hear from other organisations, local people or interested parties who may have something to offer in support.”

    Devon Wildlife Trust has already spoken with organisations such as the Westcountry Rivers Trust, Tale Valley Trust, South West Water and local landowners but expects many more to get involved over coming months.

    For the first few months of the project the priority will be to work out what conservation work is already happening and from this work out priorities for future action on the ground. One of the key areas will be to look at barriers to fish passage throughout the river as well as excessive nutrient input.

    Scott added: “ Considering current drought conditions, the health of our rivers is even more important at this time. Well functioning river systems are vital both for people and wildlife. The work we will be doing over the coming months will help create a robust and sustainable catchment able to cope with future weather extremes and pressures.”

    For more information about the project and to get involved contact Scott on 01392 279244.

    Photograph:  The Otter at Tipton St John.