The Heritage Lottery Fund has made a £2.2m grant to a scheme to protect the headwaters of the Test and Itchen rivers on the Hampshire Downs from pollution, drought, flooding and invasive species.
Working with local communities on seven headwater streams, the project will restore wildlife habitats and historic structure; create a conservation programme for native crayfish; raise awareness of non-native species; and training communities, landowners, and volunteers to manage their stretches of the river better.
The headwater streams are the Pilhill Brook, Upper Anton, Bourne Rivulet, Upper Test, Candover Brook, River Arle and Cheriton Stream.
The Test and Itchen rivers' chalk stream habitats are home to otter, water vole, kingfisher, water shrew and white-clawed crayfish. The area is also known for fly-fishing and the watercress industry and its water mills have supported industries such as the production of paper, corn, silk and gin.
Drew Bennellick, HLF head of landscape and natural heritage, said: "Schemes like these provide a creative solution to helping people reconnect with landscapes and the environment, to implement solutions at a truly landscape-scale and tackle issues such as soil loss and flooding by supporting partnerships and coalitions of the willing."