The River Thame Catchment Project – A Catchment Restoration Fund project in Oxfordshire
The River Thame and its associated waterbodies are amongst the most degraded tributaries of the Thames. Pollution from rural sewage treatment works and from agricultural sources, and the lack of high quality habitat for wildlife in the floodplain are major issues affecting the catchment biodiversity.
The River Thame Catchment Project was set up in 2012 with funding from the Environment Agency’s Catchment Restoration Fund, to work with local landowners to improve the quality of the River Thame and its tributaries. Initially, the project will focus on the areas surrounding the Baldon, Denton and Gainsbridge brooks and Milton Ditch in the lower Thame, but we hope to extend the approach to other areas of the Thame in subsequent phases of the project.
The project is led and coordinated jointly by the River Thame Conservation Trust and Freshwater Habitats Trust, working in partnership with the Environment Agency. A number of landowners and farmers, including members of the River Thame Conservation Trust, are already keen to participate in the project – and this is key for the success of the project.
Over the next two years, we will run a series of workshops and training courses designed to engage the wider local community on water quality and biodiversity issues in the Thame catchment. Working with local landowners and farmers, we will trial some small-scale, practical solutions to address diffuse pollution issues on the ground such as:
- small wetland systems to trap run-off from fields;
- sustainable urban drainage systems to treat run-off from local roads;
- nutrient planning;
- repositioning gateways and crossings;
Our work programme also includes improvements to the structure of River Thame wetlands for freshwater wildlife, such as:
- restoring in-stream habitat by adding woody debris;
- creating wetlands on the River Thame floodplain itself.
This should benefit wildlife in the Thame catchment, but should also have wider environmental and economic benefits for the local area.
If you are interested in participating or hearing more about the project, or would like to be kept informed of future events please get in touch with the River Thame Conservation Trust: https://riverthame.org.
This work is funded through the Environment Agency’s Catchment Restoration Fund.