Wildlife gets helping hand thanks to Water Environment Grant

A pioneering project aiming to improve the quality of water within key catchments in Staffordshire and help to restore and create new habitats for wildlife can be achieved thanks to a £320,000 grant secured by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

The county’s largest nature conservation charity has been awarded the Water Environment Grant from the Environment Agency to improve the water quality within the Whiston Brook, Upper Sow and Scotch Brook catchments.

Due to agricultural diffuse pollution, waste water pollution, poor habitat provision for fish and invertebrates and general lack of ecological elements, the Whiston Brook, Upper Sow and Scotch Brook catchments are failing to meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

The Whiston and Scotch Brook catchments as a whole are also suffering from elevated phosphate levels as a result of agricultural diffuse pollution.

The work would address these issues by reducing the amount of phosphate and sediment entering the watercourse. The aims will be achieved by implementing Rural Sustainable Drainage System (RSuDS) techniques, in order to trap sediments and runoff containing pollutants from surrounding land, which can then be treated at the source.

The RSuDS techniques would include fencing watercourses to reduce erosion caused by livestock.

David Cadman, Senior Conservation Manager at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “The Water Environment Grant will allow us to carry out the project which aims to improve the water quality within all three catchments and restore and create wetland habitats.

“Through landowner liaison and practical works over the two years, a range of Rural SuDS works can be implemented, in order to capture and treat sediments and runoff containing pollutants.

“The project will contribute towards the Government’s target, that all rivers in the UK will achieve a 'Good Ecological Status’ by 2027.”

This year is a very special year for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, marking 50 years since the charity was formed in 1969. To celebrate, the Trust has plenty planned to mark the occasion. Visit www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/50yearswild to find out more.