Thankfully, today there is an increasing
interest in caring for our lakes and rivers. Many trusts, groups,
projects and plans are positively bubbling away with ongoing
efforts to help restore and care for our freshwater habitats. CCW
is actively supporting movements like these to ultimately conserve
the freshwater environment for the country.
For example, several rivers trusts have
recently formed in Wales with the objective of restoring river
Many lakes have set-up advisory bodies to
agree on best management, such as the Llangorse Lake Advisory Group
– while local Biodiversity Action Plan groups also have a
responsibility to care for some lake types.
Keep Wales Tidy also runs the Afonydd Glan
(Clean Rivers) project, specifically targeted at removing rubbish
The strategies are beginning to focus. River
and lake conservation is being formalised by the setting up of
River Basin Management Plans under the Water Framework Directive.
As Europe-wide directives, the Habitats
Directive joins the Water Framework Directive in a bid to safeguard
the quality of our freshwaters.
CCW is working with partner organisations such
as the Environment Agency to ensure that these activities are
properly and responsibly managed. This is primarily done through a
system of licences and consents – although mere administration is
not always enough to conserve our irreplaceable rivers and
Small-scale management and restoration are
also essential. For example, keeping livestock from trampling and
overgrazing riverbanks and lake margins helps prevent excessive
This means working closely with partners, and
CCW liases with many individuals and organisations through
management agreements, grant aid and other means to protect these
vibrant aquatic systems.
The great challenge for managing the
freshwater environment is catchment management – making sure that
all of us carry out our activities in a way that does not harm our
All of us can indeed play a part in this – by
making sure that drains and septic tanks are properly maintained,
switching to less harmful low phosphate detergents, or simply by
supporting the many groups who are working hard to ensure our
freshwaters keep their sparkle for generations to come.