We're engaging with farmers across the Ock catchment, in partnership with Environment Agency, to help tackle diffuse pollution from agriculture, reduce flood risk and improve farmland freshwater habitats.
Working with farmers in the Ock catchment
The Ock catchment is part of the Oxfordshire Important Freshwater Landscape, one of the richest places in England and Wales for freshwater biodiversity. However, its freshwater wildlife is under threat from pressures such as pollution, drainage and climate change, and many of its freshwater habitats have become degraded. In addition, the catchment’s towns and villages – including Abingdon and Letcombe Regis – suffer from flooding
Farmland contributes both diffuse and point-source pollution to the water environment and land use can exacerbate flood risk, for example bare soil in the winter or very efficient agricultural drainage in the headwaters. Water pollution is a widespread issue that has detrimental impacts on freshwater biodiversity. Freshwater Habitats Trust and the Environment Agency are working together with local farmers from across the Ock catchment to help address these issues.
Measures currently being delivered include:
1 Backwater creation and restoration
We’re creating a new backwater on the Ock and restoring a backwater on the Childrey Brook.
2 Floodplain Wetland Mosaic creation and pond restoration
We’re restoring ponds and creating a Floodplain Wetland Mosaic habitat at Charney Bassett. We’re also creating clean-water ponds along the Letcombe Brook corridor
3 Natural Flood Management
We’re using Natural Flood Management techniques to reduce flood risk in Lye Valley Nature Reserve. And we’re adding measures near Farringdon to reduce flood risk and trap sediment.
4 Rewetting dry peat
This will stimulate denitrification and reduce the nitrate load entering Cothill Fen and Raleigh Park. It will also buffer these rare wetland habitats against climate change and reduce flood risk.