Monday 23rd April 2012
Rivers in Devon could have their health credentials boosted thanks to a new project from two charities.
River catchments in East Devon will be assessed by the Devon Wildlife Trust as part of the project, which will run in partnership with the Environment Agency.
The charity, which works to ensure the area's wildlife on land and at sea is varied, is starting the pilot project by looking at the health of the river Otter and its tributaries.
During the 12-month project, workers will assess the river's overall health and work to establish new conservation projects and improve existing schemes.
The objectives are based around the European Water Framework Directive (WFD), which aims to enhance and maintain the ecological status of water bodies.
As part of this, catchments have been assessed for water quality, amount and range of wildlife and human impact in a bid to improve rivers and streams by 2015.
Scott West, from Devon Wildlife Trust, 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."
Dave Trewolla, from the Environment Agency, said: "Partnerships such as this are an exciting opportunity to work together and will be crucial if we are to achieve the aims of the WFD and secure the environmental outcomes necessary to protect and enhance our water environment."
Project workers will firstly explore the conservation already happening in the area and then work out priorities for future action. One key area will be to look at barriers to fish travelling through the river as well as excessive nutrient input.