News for: Chalk Streams
Water, water everywhere – but is it enough?
Ruth Hawksley - Wildlife Trusts BCN
England's rare and fragile chalk streams are in such a stressed state that wate restrictions should urgently be put in place to protect them, according to a group of 12 rivers and wildlife organisations.
The group, which includes the Angling Trust, the Wild Trout Trust, Chilterns Chalk Streams Project and the Rivers and Wildlife Trusts, says that river levels and groundwater supplies are now so depleted that the freshwater ecosystems are “quite simply dying from a lack of water”.
Clare Balding and Feargal Sharkey walk along the Hogsmill River, Greater London discussing the importance of nature and these rare chalk streams.
Listen to the short (25mins) chat on BBC sounds.
The river Misbourne should be a pristine, gin-clear chalk stream teeming with invertebrates, fish and birds, but today it is little more than a dirt track. Allen Beechey, who runs the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project, gestures to the muddy path that used to be the river and explains the “chronic problem” affecting the area’s chalk streams. “Abstraction in this area has gone up exponentially since the end of World War Two… abstraction pressure is building massively and very quickly and the situation is getting progressively worse,” he says.
England is home to the majority of the world's chalk streams. They provide unique habitats for iconic species such as water voles, otters and mayflies, however a WWF Report has revealed the shocking state that our chalk streams are in. It was found that 77% of England's chalk streams do not meet good status under the Water Framework Directive and that only 12 out of 224 chalk streams have protected status.