Preserving our rare chalk streams
August 23, 2019
At CampaignWORKS we’re lucky enough to be located beside the River Lea and experience natures wildlife on our front doorstep, we know how important the river is in helping aquatic wildlife to flourish and we should do everything we can to protect our rare Chalk Streams.
Our client, Affinity Water, has been working in partnership with Revitalising Chalk Rivers to improve and restore a number of Chalk Streams in the area. The aim of the project is to regain some of the natural characteristics of rivers, which have been lost through time and increase the population of fish, insects and other aquatic wildlife by improving their habitat.
Chalk streams are globally rare habitats, there are around 240 worldwide; 160 of these are in England and 10% are located within the Affinity Water supply area. But what is a Chalk Stream? Chalk Streams are fed from chalk aquifers (underground permeable rock that stores water) meaning the water is very pure and rich in minerals with a fairly constant temperature all year round. The rivers flow over a gravelly bed making Chalk Streams an excellent habitat for fish and wildlife to nourish.
Over the last two years, rainfall has been below average throughout much of Southeast England – an area designated as under serious ‘water stress’ by the Environment Agency. As a result, flows in many Chalk Streams have been reduced and some parts have dried up completely.
Historical alterations have damaged the natural course of rivers and have led to habitat loss and a decrease in biodiversity.
Some of the Chalk Streams that have been restored so far, include; Manor Road Park, and Gadebridge Park, the River Beane project is currently on Phase II of the restoration work. We worked with Affinity Water to produce information boards for each of these sites that show the work that’s been carried out and the improvements made to the streams. The boards also include images of the wildlife to look out for along the river, such as Mayflies and Water voles.
To find out more about Affinity Water’s Biodiversity programme head over to: https://stakeholder.affinitywater.co.uk/biodiversity.aspx