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Valuing Our Brooks & Streams

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River Thame Catchment 01

Unless you are a regular walker and enjoy taking in close and intimate views of the local countryside, you may not be aware of the various brooks and streams that feed into the Thames in our part of the Vale of Aylesbury.

The collection of feeder waterways is known as the River Thame Catchment, and this encompasses a wide area running North-East to South-West (see map) from Stewkley, Wingrave and Tring at the Eastern boundary to Wheatley and Watlington to the West. Haddenham is located approximately at its centre.

Efforts are being co-ordinated by the Freshwater Habitats Trust (FHT) and the River Thame Conservation Trust (RTCT) to maintain and improve the water quality flowing in these tributaries to the Thames. Under the Water Framework Directive there is a requirement to achieve "good status" of the ground and surface waters. This encompasses such characteristics as the bank structure, bed substrate, temperature, oxygen and nutrient content of the water; levels of chemical pollutants; and the biological quality of water, including fish, invertebrate and plant life.

Key challenges to the water quality include sewage treatment output into the brooks and streams, property development in the Vale, which significantly increases population densities and hence quantities of sewage waste, and water run-off from fields on which fertilisers and pesticides have been applied.

You can view a very informative and well designed website, which includes an interactive map here

If you are a regular walker, an off-road cyclist or runner, enjoy fishing, or have other direct experience of the local brooks, streams and tributary waterways, the River Thame Conservation Trust would very much appreciate your completing a short survey, to help them understand how the River Thame Catchment is used for leisure purposes and the attributes that local residents value most highly.

Completing the survey takes no more than five minutes and you could win a cash prize of £100!

You'll find the survey here

If you're not familiar with the local waterways in our lovely part of the world, maybe a suitable New Year's Resolution might be to get out and about a little more! You can find some taster images of the scenes awaiting you here.

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