More than 100 conservation projects have benefited from twenty years of funding by the Wessex Water Partners Programme.
Water supply and sewerage utility company Wessex Water was established in 1998, and since then the programme has provided financial support to many conservation projects which have enhanced biodiversity.
Recent projects include working with Dorset Wildlife Trust on improving their wild rivers, working with Avon Wildlife Trust on restoring the North Somerset Levels and Moors and the Wessex Chalk Streams Project in Wiltshire.
The Wessex Chalk Streams project is run in partnership with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Wiltshire Fisheries Association. This project has helped more than 60km of rivers recover from issues such as dredging, over-engineering and off-land pollution.
Wessex Water has also heavily invested in upgrading their treatment works to improve water quality, as well as reducing the amount of water it extracts from the river and its catchment to keep flows sufficient for the environment and habitats to thrive.
Dave Jones, senior regulatory scientist at Wessex Water, said: ‘The Partners Programme is a key strand of our biodiversity action plan (BAP) and we’re really proud to have supported so many important environmental projects since 1998.
‘Our next phase of major grants funding applications has just opened, and we’re looking for innovative new or existing projects to work in partnership with to deliver key outcomes.
‘We’re in a time of change and we want our Partners Programme to evolve to meet the different challenges which the environment faces and our customers expect of us.’
Dr Gary Mantle, chief executive of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, added: ‘Over the last 20 years the partners and an army of volunteers have come together to tackle an incredible 111 projects, covering 60km of river, which is a phenomenal achievement.
‘Chalk streams are a remarkable type of river that is unique to this country, with a constant flow of clear, alkaline water coming from groundwater sources that has encouraged a wonderful diversity of species
‘We’ve gained a huge amount of understanding but we know there’s so much more that needs to be done, with pressures such as invasive species or climate change contributing to low flows. The river has to be able to respond to all of that.’
Photo Credit – Pixabay