Conservation and enhancement of the River Wye’s natural environment is central to the work of the Partnership. Chalk streams are a special natural environment. They support a rich range of biodiversity, the condition of which is dependent on the quality and flow of the stream and the condition of its bankside environment. Carefully planned conservation work is therefore essential to maintain the river and its associated waterways in good condition.
The Partnership organises frequent conservation work parties throughout much of the year to clear vegetation and debris from the river. These are led by trained volunteer team leaders from the organisations represented on the Steering Group. Local volunteers are reinforced by volunteers from the member charities of the Partnership. Volunteer conservation events along the river are also organised by the Partnership for local community groups and businesses that want to support the Partnership’s aims and activities. Work on invasive weed control includes a major long term project to remove Himalayan (Indian) Balsam along the length of the Wye.
Keeping the riverside environment tidy is also an important part of good conservation practice. Some volunteer events therefore focus mainly on litter picking.
Read more about River Improvements and Volunteering
In various places over the years, the course of the River Wye and its associated waterways has been modified extensively from its original natural state. Parts of the river have been canalised or culverted and river flows have been disrupted by the development of hard structures, such as weirs, walls and pipelines. Revive the Wye has identified a series of projects to remove or modify some of these unnatural restraints that hinder the passage and enhancement of wildlife and habitats. In most cases, major projects require external funding that has to be raised through local or national government funding schemes, through developer contributions or from charitable trusts. Members of the Steering Group prepare comprehensive submissions to apply for such funding. See Our projects.
Organised Walks and Events
Revive the Wye organises a number of walks each year along the river and its valley corridor. Some of these have a specialised focus, such as the flora and wildlife of the river or the history of the many mills that used to be located adjacent to the river.
The Partnership liaises closely with the High Wycombe Society and its Pann Mill Group, and also with organisations such as Wycombe Museum and the Flackwell Local Area History Group to promote talks and other events about the local heritage associated with the Wye.
Education and Fun
The Partnership is developing an education and awareness programme, with a special focus on school children and young people. Revive the Wye members have helped run Family Fun days in Hughenden Park, fishing events on the Dyke in High Wycombe and stream dipping and ‘mini-beast’ identification sessions for school children. A ‘trout in the classroom’ project has been launched, with the first school successfully breeding 66 baby trout which the schoolchildren put into the Wye at Wooburn. Interpretation boards explaining the special characteristics of chalk streams have been located in Boundary Park, Loudwater and Wooburn Park, with more planned for other locations.
Planning and Riverside properties
The combined expertise on the Steering Group is utilised to submit representations on new planning applications that could have harmful impacts on the Wye or its riverside environment. This often involves working closely with the local planning authorities and the planning specialists in the member organisations.
The River Wye Advice Note gives advice to business and private landowners with property on the Wye on the best practices to be used in managing the river’s edge.
The health of a river can be gauged in part by monitoring the fish stocks and other wildlife that live in the river. Tests by the Environment Agency have already confirmed that some of the conservation projects conducted by Revive the Wye have had significant benefit. River fly monitoring and other techniques are used to measure river quality. A team of volunteers has been formed to conduct such tests periodically and to monitor other forms of wildlife along the river corridor.
Read more about River Improvements
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