Healthy rivers are essential for both humans and nature, but they are currently degraded by – and under threat from – physical modification, pollution, climate change, habitat loss and water scarcity.
River catchments (areas of landscapes that drains into a river) are interconnected systems. Anything that happens in one section of a catchment has the potential to affect the health and function of the river: what happens upstream affects the river downstream.
Therefore, there needs to be a joined up approach to addressing the river’s health, across the whole river network, by bringing together all organisations who have an interest in the river to work collectively for the benefit of a whole network of waterways it entails. This is called a catchment partnership.
The South East Rivers Trust (SERT) hosts or co-hosts 12 catchment partnerships spanning counties as far and wide as Hampshire, Berkshire, south London, Surrey, Kent and Sussex. We use an evidence-based approach and the expertise of our Science and Partnerships team to address problems across each river system as a whole. This method is guided by the national Catchment Based Approach (CaBA).
The Catchment Based Approach to managing our rivers brings together businesses, local authorities, regulators, water companies, community groups and environmental organisations – such as SERT and our co-hosts.
Our catchment partnerships aim to improve a river’s natural function not only to help wildlife thrive but to make them spaces where people can enjoy as amenity spaces.
Each partner brings different expertise. Collaborations are forged to identify issues that affect river health and – most importantly – to shape solutions. Jointly, we develop catchment plans and projects to address these issues and deliver multiple benefits.
A range of measures are delivered to help rivers, including: habitat restoration, natural flood management, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), constructed wetlands, backwaters, fish passes and Nature-based Solutions to increase resilience and biodiversity.
At present, we chair and are the sole catchment partnership host for:
We co-host catchment partnerships for: