The River Thame, an often-forgotten river, is home to a wide range of important wildlife and some stunning scenery. The River Thame Conservation Trust, along with other organisations, are working hard to understand just how our river can benefit people and wildlife in the catchment.
To reach its full potential to provide for both people and nature, we must protect the river from the large number of pressures that it faces. Water quality is by far the most concerning of these pressures, with low quality impacting on the rivers wildlife and affecting both human and livestock health.
There are multiple pressures on the quality of water, including sewage discharges, road run off, agricultural practices and livestock impacts. National and local projects aim to deal with many of these issues and real positive improvement will only be seen if we make changes across all of them.
A joint project between the Environment Agency, Wild Oxfordshire and the River Thame Conservation Trust, is focussing on working with landowners to help them reduce the impact of livestock on our river. Livestock access to watercourses can increase soil loss, creating sediment that smothers important fish spawning habitats and increases the levels of nutrients in the river dramatically.
Reducing livestock poaching benefits not just the environment – it can also reduce the risk of losing land through bankside erosion, conserve farm soil nutrients, protect water margins and keep landowners on the right side of regulations therefore protecting farm payments.
Surveys have already been carried which will allow us to focus in the most heavily impacted areas, and we are now in the process of organising free visits with the aim of providing tailored advice for individual farms. These visits will help us outline the most cost effective techniques to implement that can reduce the impact of livestock on our river systems.
We also have subsidies that can be applied for, if the work is completed by summer 2017. For farmers and landowners who wish to go a step further, we will be offering to look at designing projects that will offer multiple benefitsto land and livestock.
If you have any questions, would be interested in having a visit yourself or getting involved with the River Thame Conservation Trust, then please get in touch with Emily Godfrey (Project Officer) via firstname.lastname@example.org / 07413936048