Management of Wetlands & Streams

Image credit: Steve Waterhouse

The UK’s freshwater wetlands and waterways range from small ponds and trickling streams to gushing rivers and massive reservoirs. It's no wonder they support such a diverse range of plants and animals!

There is an urgent need to restore our wetlands and to help some of our most enigmatic species return and thrive across our wetland landscapes.

Biodiversity conservation is a major driver for change across river catchments. Conserving these priceless areas also benefits communities and businesses as well as the special species and places that our rivers and streams support. For example, working with nature can help reduce flood risk and help us cope with drought conditions.

But action on the ground to protect and enhance wetlands must be supplemented by more sustainable use of water for both domestic and business purposes and supported by a clear understanding of the wider value to society of wetland habitats.

For more information on wetlands, click here. Take a look below at some of the ways landowners can help to restore them. 

Stream restoration - Devon Wildlife Trust

Devon Wildlife Trust removed a culvert at Church Cottage, in an area of the Culm grassland. A culverted stream is the epitome of a modified watercourse – with 100% of the water efficiently transferred down the river network.

This means it has no opportunity to interact with its floodplain, to recharge the
groundwater, or for any of the vegetation to slow its flow and remove sediments and other pollutants. It is also of no benefit to the landscape or biodiversity.

This project aimed to remove a short section of culvert to help restore all of these natural functions, and wider benefits to society.

Improved water quality - Devon Wildlife Trust

Since 2008 the Devon Wildlife Trust has worked with farmers and landowners in the Culm to help implement effective water management on farms as part of our whole farm plans.

This has included soil aeration to reduce compaction; the use of buffer strips and low intensity grassland to protect watercourses; nutrient, soil and manure management plans; woodland planting to increase water storage and infiltration; and restoring Culm grassland to increase its water holding capacity. 

Clean water is essential for life, and a healthy river network is a vital lifeline throughout the countryside.