Chalk streams and climate change

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This recent report, Chalk streams of the future: The effects of climate change on biodiversity in England’s iconic river ecosystems is an easy-to-read summary of the challenges that our chalk streams face, with climate change compounding the impact of multiple pressures including physical modification, pollution, over abstraction and invasive species. 

One of the key objectives of WTT’s in river’ habitat projects is to build resilience to these challenges. Simple but effective measures that we use include using bankside vegetation to provide shade and act as a buffer to limit sediment and nutrient inputs, using woody material to help create a sinuous channel with pools and riffles and clean gravels and taking more radical action to restore natural processes – see video below. 

These actions do not fix’ the issues of climate change, water quality and abstraction but they do help rivers and their wildlife to withstand some of the pressures we throw at them and, just maybe, survive while policy makers address those big picture issues.

Further reading

A document recently issued by the EA, River water temperature projections for English Chalk Streams, which identifies that, by 2080, our chalk streams may be too warm for trout.

Check out our chalk stream web pages, where you’ll find links to the Chalk Stream Restoration Strategy and recently published Implementation Plan.