What are rivers for?
Just 16% of our waters (14% of rivers) meet the criteria for ‘good ecological status’, the same percentage as in 2016. .… no surface water bodies have met the criteria for achieving ‘good chemical status’.
We in the Wild Trout Trust want better rivers: corridors for wildlife, with clean water and enough water for them to function naturally. Rivers are, or should be, places for leisure and enjoyment.
Historically and to a lesser extent today, rivers are transport routes, sources of power and raw materials for industry, sewers and rubbish disposal systems.
There are different attitudes to rivers. For some, they are a nuisance, taking up valuable land and best buried in a culvert or moved out of the way. Or a threat because they flood and so need to be managed in order to ‘get the water away’ from the land to the sea — or more likely to the next town or village downstream. Some rivers can be loved too much for their wildlife to thrive because they are kept tidy and ‘gardened’.
We like to manage rivers and their wildlife rather than give them the space to develop naturally and deliver the tremendous benefits to our quality of life, biodiversity and to mitigate the effects of climate change including floods and droughts.
How rivers work
There is a lot of good material on the internet that explains the theory of rivers, processes of erosion and deposition, how the landscape is changed by rivers etc. at every level from primary school to post graduate. This website is one of the more concise and clear examples.
Listed below are links to pages on this website about rivers and river habitat within the channel and on the banks (riparian zone). Our work is focused on improving river habitat, using trout as a indicator of a healthy river. If wild trout are thriving, the river is good condition.
Check out our other resource hubs for river water quality and floods and droughts (work in progress).
Within each of the topic pages there are links to videos, articles, documents, blog posts, projects and external web sites to provide further information.
Each topic page link will open in a new tab.
Riverbank buffer zones
- case studies are under the ‘Projects’ main menu
- for beaver dams, check out the Beaver Resource Hub