2nd Annual Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum Sets its Sights on National Attention
Vitacress Conservation Trust and partners resolve to focus national attention on the plight of England’s globally significant chalk stream ecology.
Tuesday, September 2 2008 – At the second annual Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum, stakeholders involved in the conservation and restoration of the Hampshire chalk waters came together to share perspectives and knowledge on the critical environmental issues facing the famous chalk streams. The event, which was chaired by Lord Selborne, Patron of the Vitacress Conservation Trust (VCT), heard from experts from academia, business as well as local and national angling and environmental communities. The goal was to carve out a practical route forward for the benefit of this precious and quintessentially English resource.
This year’s Forum heard from speakers from the University of Southampton, The Environment Agency, the Test and Itchen Association and Cain Bio-Engineering on a range of scientific and environmental issues related to the mounting challenges facing the streams, as well as some best practice examples of how local farmers, business and landowners were collaborating with the Environment Agency and English Nature to help restore and protect some local rivers.
The Forum identified some highly pressing issues contributing to the threatened status of our chalk streams, including the urgent need to consolidate and analyse the large bank of disparate scientific data currently in play, in order to draw nationally significant conclusions from them. Therefore it was agreed by the VCT Board that this year’s activities would include work with the University of Southampton to begin collating and analysing the science informing this debate, in order to help solve issues facing the English Chalk Streams.
Chalk Waters Catchment Management Groups
Last year’s forum had resolved to explore the creation of a series of Chalk Waters Catchment Management Groups for the Rivers Test & Itchen and its sub-catchments. The first of these was the ‘Bourne Rivulet Initiative’, which was formed in November 2007 and its Chair, Professor Gail Taylor of the University of Southampton, reported to the Forum on the significant progress made in the intervening period.
The role of this group has been be to interpret the body of scientific research being undertaken on the Stream and its ecology, and to translate and ultimately guide that research into practical solutions that can be implemented on the ground.
Practical outputs so far have included the completion of the river restoration at the Vitacress Salads site at St Mary Bourne, the engagement by local landowner Michael Malyon of the same experts to implement river restoration on a 700m stretch of the Bourne downstream of the Vitacress site, and the creation of a Bourne Rivulet Chalk Stream Knowledge Database housed at Southampton University. The intention is to complete the population of that database and then to transfer its contents to a public website which will be universally accessible.
In fact, the Management Group has been so successful it was resolved by the VCT to use its exemplar as a best practice model and create a similar group called the Upper Itchen Initiative to address the fast mounting concerns voiced at the Forum about this particular stretch of a historic chalk stream.
Lord Selborne, Patron of the Vitacress Conservation Trust and Chair of the Forum commented “The second Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum proved a lively meeting, with a number of positive messages as well as some concerns. The VCT will, I know, be following up on a number of very constructive proposals made in the discussion period”.
Professor Gail Taylor, Chair of the VCT said “We were delighted by the impressive turn out and spirit of co-operation from such a wide representation of interests in our chalk streams, and particularly proud that the model created by the Bourne Rivulet Initiative was considered a useful template for others to follow”.
Lawrence Talks from the Environment Agency comments, “Chalk streams are an irreplaceable part of England’s natural heritage. The environmental pressures they face are immense. The Vitacress Conservation Trust is an excellent example of how the scientific community, landowners, business interests, NGOs and statutory agencies are joining forces to protect these iconic rivers for future generations.”
Over 150 delegates attended the forum from across a broad spectrum of government, voluntary and business groups, as well as local landowners and community-based organizations.
Forum presentations and white papers available for download:
The Quintessential Chalk Stream
Jim Glasspool, Test & Itchen Association
The Structure and Function of Chalk Streams
Pete Shaw, University of Southampton
Chalk Stream Malaise
Lawrence Talks, Environment Agency
Catchment Sensitive Farming
Nigel Thomas-Childs, Environment Agency
The Bourne Rivulet Initiative 2008
Gail Taylor, University of Southampton
Simon Cain & Dominic Longley, Cain Bioengineering and Terry Lawon, Angling Consultant
Our first post-pandemic forum with research updates Vitacress Conservation Trust 2022 Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum - 25 November The annual Vitacress Conservation Trust (VCT) Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum took place on 25 November at Sparsholt College, Winchester,...
Managing and preserving Hampshire’s ecologically important chalk streams Vitacress Conservation Trust 2018 Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum - 23 November The importance of managing and preserving Hampshire’s ecologically important chalk streams was discussed at the 12th...
Progress on sponsored PhD research projects Vitacress Conservation Trust 2017 Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum - 24 November We were delighted that Merrick Denton-Thompson kindly agreed to Chair our 2017 Forum. Our first guest speaker, David Sears (University of...
Celebrating our 10th anniversary! Vitacress Conservation Trust 2016 Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum - 25 November In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum, we were delighted to welcome our founding Patron, Lord Selborne, to Chair the...
The historical significance of chalk streams and their modern day management Vitacress Conservation Trust 2015 Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum - 6 November The theme of this year’s forum was the historical significance of chalk streams and their modern-day management in...
The role of chalk streams for water life and migratory birds Vitacress Conservation Trust 2014 Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum - 7 November This year we welcomed guest speakers Dr. Pete Shaw, Graham Rogers, Simon Tonkin, Ben Rushbrook and Peter Marren. Discussions...
Providing practical solutions to problems faced by conservationists Vitacress Conservation Trust 2012 Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum - 25 November This year we welcomed a host of speakers to focus on the importance of providing practical solutions to the ongoing...
Exploring the key influences on the health of chalk stream headwaters Vitacress Conservation Trust 2012 Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum - 16 November The eminent speakers at this year’s forum provided updates on action and research called for last year and explored some...
Discussing the successful large scale restoration techniques being implemented. Vitacress Conservation Trust 2011 Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum - 28 November Following last year’s forum, where phosphorus pollution was a key area of discussion, this year’s eminent...
Discussing phosphorus-based diffuse pollution on chalk streams and larger rivers Vitacress Conservation Trust 2010 Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum - 29 November Following last year’s Forum, where phosphorus pollution was identified as the overwhelmingly important...