The River Friendly Severn Project
The River Friendly Severn project was delivered by the Severn Rivers Trust over two years (2016-18) in northern Powys, across the former county of Montgomeryshire.
Clean rivers are important for recreation, for wildlife, for fishing, agriculture and for many businesses relying on ample supplies of clean water.
The river Severn and its tributaries suffer from a number of pressures including:
· Pollution from industrial, agricultural and domestic sources
· Concrete and paving in built-up areas limit water storage and drainage
· Barriers in rivers that stop fish from swimming freely
· Poor land management leading to loss of habitats and key species
· Alien species such as Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed which smother river banks and cause increased erosion
The River Friendly project enabled our Senior Community Officer to work with local schools, businesses and volunteer networks. We supported local people in taking action for their rivers to improve water quality, restore habitats and celebrate the diverse wildlife that call them home.
The River Friendly Severn project built relationships with local primary and secondary school teachers in five key river catchments in Powys. Pupils learned how the river provides important habitats for a range of fascinating wildlife. After an introductory whole school assembly and class workshops children achieved the ‘River Friendly Kids’ Award.
They then undertook site surveys and designed a range of improvements for their school grounds to help make them ‘River Friendly Schools’. Specially commissioned rain gardens have been built in three schools which store rain water and reduce pollution into rivers. They also offer a focal point for community engagement and learning about conservation and the importance of rivers.
We engaged local businesses through the River Friendly Business Award. This was designed to demonstrate the benefits of getting involved with local communities and practical river conservation. Businesses were involved in a number of ways, for example donating money for high-vis jackets for school children, offering corporate volunteering time, and even making physical improvements for the river on their properties. We have built strong relationships with businesses and continue to work with them to improve the Severn catchment.
Finally, by working with volunteers and establishing networks of specialist knowledge and best practice we have ensured a high level of skill and technical understanding among local people within the community. These networks are extremely important for Severn Rivers Trust as they enable us to have multiple ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground and extend our reach. With the input of volunteers we can track the impact of our conservation work, identify any threats such as pollution, and understand more about river wildlife. Not only this, volunteer groups provide invaluable contributions to practical conservation tasks including invasive species control, making in-stream improvements and planting and caring for the rare river trees such as the iconic Black Poplar.
For more information please contact Lisa Barlow on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website: www.severnriverstrust.com
Start Date: October 2016
End Date: September 2019
Project Total: £121,055.39
Rural Development Funding / Arwain: £96,844.31
Match Funding: £24,211.08