Shocking findings from trust about pollution levels in River Thame

A map showing levels of pollution on the River Thame
A map showing levels of pollution on the River Thame

Over the summer months, the River Thame Conservation Trust has let loose volunteers to find ‘safe havens’ for wildlife on our waterways.

As part of the “Clean Water Quest” volunteers have been searching for the perfect habitats for wildlife in our local waterways.

However some of the results that came back revealed some startling information.

Survey volunteers used simple test kits to check levels of two widespread pollutants, nitrate and phosphate in more than 450 sites from Aylesbury to Dorchester on Thames and surrounding waterbodies.

These two pollutants are often common where farming is involved.

Results showed that out of all the sites examined, only 16% of sites tested were free from pollution.

River Thame project officer Hannah Worker said: “Clean water can support rich and diverse wetland plant and animal communities.

“It only takes a little pollution to cause the loss of much of this wildlife.

“In an intensively farmed area, like the River Thame catchment, where there are many potential sources of nutrient pollution, it is more important than ever to find the clean water places, places free of pollution where our rarer more sensitive species can flourish.”

The report found that smaller waters, such as ponds and headwater streams were found to provide the majority of clean water havens for wildlife.

Ponds were the stand out champions and made up 72% of clean water sites in our area.

The majority of issues in the water stemmed from running water sites, with steam and moving water bodies all found to be full of pollutants.

The Clean Water Quest survey has highlighted the importance of smaller waters in providing clean unpolluted water, essential for much of our wildlife, and how vital it is to extend this clean water network.

This can be achieved through clean water pond creation and by working to extend downstream from clean streams and ditches.

This can be as simple as creating a rain water fed garden and clean, unpolluted ponds thriving with wetland plants and animals such as the one found at College Lake Nature Reserve near Tring in Hertfordshire.

Simple test kits mean local communities can now monitor the health of their local streams and ponds.

This can be achieved through clean water pond creation and by working to extend downstream from clean streams and ditches.

This can be as simple as creating a rain water fed garden pond or as grand as a creating a large wetland complex.