Essex Rivers Hub
Water is essential for everything we do. That's why we are working towards improving the quality of all our rivers, lakes and ground waters for everyone to enjoy. On these pages you will find information on your local rivers, where it is thriving, where the problems are and how we're working to resolve them. We've also included some case studies, details of current projects and how you can get involved.
Improving our water environment is a challenge for everyone. Achieving the standards set out in the EU's Water Framework Directive will be a tall order, and we will only succeed by working together.
The Essex Rivers Hub (ERH) was formed in January 2014 and is hosted by Essex Wildlife Trust. It has developed a broad active membership which includes (not in any order) Anglian Water, Environment Agency, Essex Wildlife Trust, Essex and Suffolk Water including the Chelmer & Blackwater Partnership, National Farmers Union, Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group East, Local Authorities (Colchester, Rochford, Uttlesford, Chelmsford, in future LA's will be represented by the Essex Planning Officers Association ( EPOA)), Essex & Suffolk Rivers Trust, Essex Waterways Ltd., ECC Flood partnerships, National Trust and Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project.
The benefit of Rural Sustainable Drainage Systems to reduce flooding
The Stroud District Council recently produced an informative film detailing the technical principles of Natural Flood Management on small streams and their catchments. Various techniques and designs are explored, with the aim of maximising benefits for biodiversity and water quality, whilst reducing the risks of flooding. The film can be found here, in the 'Videos' section of the Essex Rivers Hub.
The return of the lamprey
The elusive sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, is perhaps the oldest known vertebrate, without having changed much in the last 360 million years. As with many other species, human activity has had negative impacts on their reproductive behaviour and thus their population in many habitats. However, lampreys are beginning to reappear in the Great Ouse, Trent, Derwent and Wear rivers due to conservation efforts to retain their status.
You can read more about these fascinating creatures here, in an interesting article published by the Guardian.
What is the Water Framework Directive?
The problems and threats facing our rivers have been recognised at a European level, by the Water Framework Directive.
This is a piece of European legislation which became UK law in 2003. It states that all waterbodies (including rivers, lakes and the sea) in the UK must reach 'good ecological status' by 2027. 'Good ecological status' means they should be clean and healthy and contain the 'right' type and number of animals and plants. The UK has a legal obligation to meet this target.
Some projects require hands-on, practical, help. If you can give your time and fancy getting involved with practical work in and around a river, this could be for you! We will post information on the contacts page as projects require help. Typical things may include:
Himalayan Balsam pullers
Mink raft checkers and water vole surveyors