About us

We help rivers thrive again for communities and nature.

We inspire lifelong stewardship for rivers by getting people of all ages to experience, enjoy and understand rivers.

We restore, renaturalise and reconnect rivers, removing barriers to fish migration and enhancing habitats. We improve water quality through wetland creation and construct natural flood management measures to protect communities and surrounding land.

We work in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders including local government, non-governmental organisations, landowners and businesses. We work with farmers to promote sustainable land and water management ensuring healthy soils, tackling water scarcity, and boosting biodiversity.

We are conservation experts. All our work is led by data and evidence, using research and monitoring to target positive action. Using this data and our expertise, we host catchment partnerships –  bringing together stakeholders to challenge and collaborate on the best outcomes for rivers.

Water lily
SERT 20 year anniversary

Poor water quality

Clean water is vital to a healthy river; allowing a diverse community of plants and animals to thrive.

Sadly, pollution occurs daily in many different forms. 

Raw sewage is discharged frequently into our rivers and seas. A toxic cocktail of chemicals from our roads is washed into rivers each time it rains. Misconnected properties have their washing machines, sinks and toilets plumbed into the local river. Agricultural runoff of soil and fertilisers reach our rural rivers due to poor land management practices.

To tackle water quality issues, we harness the power of citizen science, like our Outfall Safari project which is mapping pollution across urban streams.

Visit Outfall Safaris

Polluted outfall © South East Rivers Trust

Water scarcity

This may be hard to believe when it’s raining, but this region receives less annual rainfall than the south of France. The south east of England is classified as water-stressed. This means that the demand for water is larger than the water available in the landscape.

Although drought occurs naturally, climate change and population growth have placed a massive strain on freshwater resources.

Water is being abstracted from our rivers and the aquifers that feed them at an unsustainable rate.

Our PROWATER project is adapting the landscape to climate change and tackling water scarcity issues by working with nature.

Discover PROWATER 

Low flows on the Wandle © South East Rivers Trust

Habitat loss

Our rivers have been reshaped, covered with concrete and stripped of important natural features such as fallen trees and aquatic plants.  Fish are unable to access all the different habitats they need in rivers fragmented by weirs and other man-made barriers.

All these changes leave rivers with low quality, disconnected habitat and no refuges for wildlife.

We love restoring rivers – why not explore our restoration projects?

Explore river restoration 

A weir once found on the Hogsmill © South East Rivers Trust