The Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust (WCSRT) is an environmental charity formed in 2010 to protect the fragile and globally important chalk-based ecosystems of rivers in the Wessex region.
The UK is home to around 85% of the world’s chalk streams and the Trust’s catchments of the Dorset Stour in the west, the Avon, the Test, the Itchen and the Meon in the east, contain many of the most iconic examples of this rare and important habitat. WCSRT forms part of the wider Rivers Trust movement that has been at the forefront of influencing policy and delivering catchment-wide environmental initiatives for over 20 years. This membership of the network of Rivers Trusts places WCSRT in an excellent position to shape and deliver action for these globally important and threatened habitats.
The WCSRT uses a catchment-based approach to analyse the growing pressures on these waterbodies resulting from agricultural, industrial and transport-based pollution, along with increased abstraction thanks to higher demand for housing and industry in the area. It uses this research to encourage effective measures that reduce the impact of these pressures on the quality and quantity of water in the region’s rivers. It is our belief that this catchment wide focus on improving water quality is the best way to ensure all the many unique species of flora and fauna that inhabit these ecosystems survive and thrive. Everything from the waving green tresses of water crowfoot to the elegant Southern damselfly, the charming, busy water vole, the mysterious brook lamprey, the wily native brown trout and the muscular Atlantic salmon, will prosper if only there is an abundance of fresh clean water.