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About Us

Who We Are

The Essex Rivers Hub is a partnership initiative hosted by The Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust and supported by the Environment Agency. The aim of this site is to provide a portal for sharing information about Essex rivers, and set out our catchment plan, as well as letting you know how you can get involved.

Essex Rivers Hub

The Catchment-Based Approach

The Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) is an inclusive, civil society-led initiative that works in partnership with Government, Local Authorities, Water Companies, businesses and more, to maximise the natural value of our environment.

Originally set up in 2010, CaBA is proudly supported by an impressive array of organisations. To find out more about the Catchment Based Approach please click here.

CaBA partnerships are actively working in all 100+ river catchments across England and cross-border with Wales. The Essex Rivers Hub is the partnership for the Combined Essex catchments, rivers, and estuaries that flow into the North Sea. The rivers that flow South into the Thames, are looked after by Thames 21.

Each catchment partnership is hosted by one of the partner organisations. The Essex Rivers Hub is hosted by the Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust. We are here to help all the partners, communities and interested members of the public work together for the benefit of the wonderful rivers of Essex and Suffolk.

Essex Rivers Hub

Our Vision

We are working to ensure our rivers, wetlands and water resources are resilient to the changing climate and population growth, are richer in biodiversity, support a thriving economy, and contribute to the wellbeing of the citizens of Essex

Over the next 10 years we will work as a partnership to ensure:

We will extend our reach with landowners, farmers, businesses, and local communities to ensure people in Essex are more conscious of the pressures on the water environment and are more actively engaged in efforts to reduce demand, reduce pollution, improve water quality, and increase biodiversity.

Our Partners

We are working to ensure our rivers, wetlands and water resources are resilient to the changing climate and population growth, are richer in biodiversity, support a thriving economy, and contribute to the wellbeing of the citizens of Essex

Our Catchment Plan

The Essex Rivers Hub meets quarterly and is setting out an annual action plan. We are working towards improving the quality of all our rivers, lakes, and ground waters for everyone to enjoy.

River Colne Water Vole Translocation Project | Essex Rivers Hub

Pressures

The topics below represent the pressures that many waterbodies in the Combined Essex catchment face. They have been divided into six main categories, but it is quite often that these categories can overlap as pressures relate to each other.

Diffuse pollution occurs as water moves across the land or through the ground and picks pollutants. These pollutants can come from a variety of places, including urban and field run off. The pollutants that enter the river can range from sediment to toxins to excess nutrients, meaning that diffuse pollution can cause a whole range of different issues. The variety in these pressure groups means that it is something that can be quite difficult to tackle. It requires groups of people, business and stakeholders to work together in order to solve this problem.

Fish should be able to travel up and down a river freely, allowing them to move and breed in the most suitable habitats for them. It is important that fish populations do not become isolated, as this makes them more susceptible to disease and puts pressure on their survival. Unfortunately, there are often many barriers along rivers that prevent fish from being able to migrate up and down stream. Where barriers have been identified, they will be seen as a ‘pressure’ on a waterbody. Thankfully, there are many solutions now that can be put in place to aid fish passage, even over large barriers.

The flow in a river can vary greatly throughout the year as rainfall and run off can have an effect. This is a natural process. It is when flow is impacted by non-natural processes that it can cause problems. Sometimes, water can be intercepted or removed from a system; this will reduce the flow, therefore changing the habitat conditions. Some species are happy in high energy rivers. This means that when flow is reduced, these species will no longer survive. The opposite of this can occur when excess water is entering a river, for example through increased runoff. Low energy systems then become high energy and displace the species that live there.

A species that is not meant to be found in a particular area is known as an invasive species. Invasive species can be from a different habitat or a different country altogether. Most of the invasive species that we find on our rivers have come from other countries – plants that people have imported for their gardens or animals that have been released for food or by animal rights activists. Control of invasive species requires a lot of time and effort. We are fortunate that we do have a range of methods to manage most of the invasive species that cause havoc on our rivers, but there are still some which we are still struggling to control.

Many of our rivers have been heavily modified over the years as rivers have been used for a wide range of purposes. Physical modification is one of the biggest factors that causes our rivers to be unhealthy. The issues that it can cause range from reducing habitat, preventing migration of mobile species, and even have an effect on the water quality. Where structures and modifications are no longer in use or necessary, they should be removed to allow the river to regain its natural state. Unfortunately, this action is not always taken which means that many of our rivers are over straightened and contain redundant structures. It is possible to return a lot of our rivers to their natural state, through one off projects, but in other cases it is not possible as the river has been changed to protect assets or manage flooding. It is recognised that some modifications cannot be removed without having severe negative impacts both socially and economically.

This is pollution that comes from a single identifiable source. The pollution entering the river could include a whole range of pollutants. Some point source pollution is known about and licences, for example sewage treatment works. Other sources are not licensed, and therefore work needs to be done with landowners to fix the problems that are allowing the pollution to enter the river. Point source pollution is more easily controlled than diffuse pollution as it often only takes one management approach to solve the issue.