Catchment Projects

Catchment projects are a great opportunity to work strategically across a landscape to protect freshwater wildlife.

In our work at a catchment scale we take account of all parts of the freshwater environment, from the smallest ponds and ditches to the biggest rivers and lakes: all have a major part to play in protecting freshwater biodiversity. Small water bodies, such as headwater streams, ponds, ditches, and flushes, have a particularly important role to play because – in most landscapes – they provide habitats for the widest variety of freshwater plants and animals, and are hotspots for many endangered species.

We work in partnership with many other organisations to share our expertise, and help people understand how best to protect freshwater wildlife, and the benefits of protecting both small and larger waters.

Our projects focus on first protecting the most biodiverse habitats from further degradation. We then try to build out from the these areas, especially by improving water quality in existing habitats and by putting back clean water in the landscape, particularly through pond creation. Ponds are especially effective because they support such a wide range of species – maybe two thirds of all freshwater plants and animals. We also undertake work to reduce the impact of diffuse pollution that arises from rural and urban land use – such as fertiliser runoff and dirty water washing off of roads. Although many projects are applying measures to try to control these problems, much of our work is currently focussing on finding out ‘what works’ as there is great uncertainty about how effective for freshwater biodiversity much catchment management really is. Our Water Friendly Farming project and the Million Ponds Project are helping to define what works best for freshwater wildlife at landscape and catchment scale. Many other people and projects are also trying to find out how best to protect freshwater biodiversity at a landscape scale and we keep a close eye on new ideas and approaches to help make our practical work as effective as it can be.

We are active supporters of the Catchment-based Approach (CaBA) and sit on the National Support Group for CaBA.

Take a look at the work we are doing…