A freshwater response for nature

27th October 2015

A couple of weeks ago a group of wildlife charities launched a new set of reports around the United Kingdom called Response for Nature

3-special-placesThey all reflected the common belief that we need to ‘do something’ if we are not to see the continued decline of wildlife in the UK.

Of course, we have much still to celebrate and lots worth saving – from the Tadpole Shrimp and Glutinous Snail to Salmon and Arctic Charr, and from the Norfolk pingos to the mountain streams of the Scottish Highlands – but its hard not to be daunted by the state of our freshwaters.

Despite more than a century of work to stop the damage and over-exploitation of freshwaters, and some successes at reversing the most damaging pollution, in much of the countryside the things that make freshwater special – the beauty of clean water and the diverse and special life it supports – are at best hanging on, or still in retreat. Now we need the sort of concerted action which seems only to be galvanized when the true extent of a crisis is realized.

A shockingly large proportion of our ponds, streams, rivers and lakes are affected by pollution – and much of our effort to reverse this seems to be having little impact on wildlife. And to this is added many other damaging stresses – from climate change to alien species.

To really turn the tide – to see a world where human activity is not inevitably degrading freshwaters – we will need to do more. The Response for Nature is a good step in a better direction.

For freshwaters we at Freshwater Habitats Trust will boil the ten point Response for Nature into three simpler points:

  • Protect the best
  • Build out from these areas
  • Create new freshwaters that link these places together to establish a network of clean water habitats across the landscape

It’s in our power to see freshwaters that are clean and beautiful, and no longer in decline, across the landscape. We have a busy few years ahead of us!

What next?