THE RIVER KEEPERS INITIATIVE
The River Keepers initiative is all about 1) citizen-led stewardship of our rivers and 2) changing our relationship to and understanding of water in our bioregion. Based in South Devon and developed by BLC and Westcountry Rivers Trust, the idea comes in response to turbid, polluted rivers; the rapid loss of native species; topsoil run-off into rivers due to extreme rainfall; a need to reverse the focus on cities over rural communities, and at a time when the true impacts of Brexit on the environment, particularly farming, are only beginning to be grasped. This initiative is designed to kindle collective responsibility for the precious resource of water, to support citizens in taking sustained, appropriate action in caring for their natural heritage. The process is aligned with that of creating a River Charter.
The actions outlined in the diagram below comprise 10 components of the River Keepers initiative (which differ in scope and combination according to location). The intent is that each community of interest will determine the outcomes that make sense to them, while guidance and support will be given by the project team.
Last year (2019), South West Water offered to pay Westcountry Rivers Trust to help a Devon river recover from serious pollution that wiped out the local fish population. This payment has been accepted by the Environment Agency as an alternative to prosecution and will benefit urban watercourses in the Plymouth area, including the Tamerton stream.
BLC is now partnering with Westcountry Rivers Trust on this project in north west Plymouth.
There’s an urban stream in there somewhere!
During the development of River Keepers we created a poster to bring the ethos and ambition of the idea to life…