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This page has a collection of educational resources from the Essex Rivers Hub catchment partners and other organisations. It also contains details of our latest Partnership meetings and links to key plans and strategies of relevance to our work.

Please contact us if you would like to add more information or new links to this site.

Essex Wildlife Trust Riversearch Resources

The Rivers Trust – The Big River Watch

River Wildlife

Invasive Species

A series of fact sheets about invasive non-native species, produced by the Non-native Species Secretariat:

You can record any non-native species online through iRecord

Water and Sewage

The Essex Rivers Hub Catchment Partnership meets quarterly. Minutes from our recent meetings can be viewed here:

A farmer cluster is when a group of farmers from a region form a group to discuss important issues and agree on cross-farm strategies and initiatives. Farmer clusters were started to support and encourage farmers to get involved in conservation and to become more aware of the unique wildlife and habitats on their land.


  • Environment Agency – A non-departmental public body, established in 1996 and sponsored by the United Kingdom government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with responsibilities relating to the protection and enhancement of the environment in England.
  • Essex & Suffolk Rivers Trust (ESRT) – ESRT is an environmental charity set up in 2013 dedicated to improving and protecting rivers in Essex and Suffolk, making them a better place for people and wildlife. ESRT is one of 60 member trusts part of The Rivers Trust umbrella organisation.
  • Essex & Suffolk Water – Northumbrian Water and Essex & Suffolk Water are part of Northumbrian Water Limited, which is a member of Northumbrian Water Group (NWG).
  • Essex County Council – The County Council for Essex has 75 councillors, elected from 70 divisions. The council meets at County Hall in the centre of Chelmsford. They manage the county’s resources in a sustainable manner to protect, restore and enhance our natural environment.
  • Essex Wildlife Trust – The county’s leading conservation charity. It has more than 39,000 members, 11 Nature Discovery Centres, 87 Nature Reserves, 2 Nature Parks and manages and protects 8,400 acres of land. The aim of Essex Wildlife Trust is to Protect Wildlife for the Future
  • FWAG East – This Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group serves the counties of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. Their independent advisory service helps farmers and land managers run profitable farm businesses whilst protecting the environmental value of their land.
  • GB Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) – Has responsibility for helping to coordinate the approach to invasive non-native species in Great Britain. They are responsible to a Programme Board which represents the relevant governments and agencies of England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Inland Waterways – A registered charity, founded in 1946, which advocates the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways for public benefit.
  • Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) – The leading organisation promoting sustainable food and farming. They help farmers produce good food, with care and to high environmental standards, identified in-store by the LEAF Marque logo.
  • National River Flow Archive – The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) archive of UK Gauging Stations.
  • National Trust – Founded in 1895, the National Trust is a charity and membership organisation for heritage conservation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Natural England – Responsible for ensuring that England’s natural environment, including its land, flora and fauna, freshwater and marine environments, geology and soils, are protected and improved. It also has a responsibility to help people enjoy, understand and access the natural environment.
  • Plantlife – An organisation aimed at raising the profile of wildflowers, plants and fungi. Plantlife’s work spans four strategic areas – protect and restore, connect people with nature, work in partnerships and collaborate and influence.
  • Riverfly – The Riverfly Partnership supports projects that are designed to assess the health of Britain’s rivers. Volunteers are trained to become citizen scientists and join a team to monitor their local river. They detect and report serious pollution incidents and create long term data sets.
  • RSPB – Europe’s largest wildlife conservation charity – with more than a million members and nearly 20,000 volunteers. It works to promote conservation and protection of birds and the wider environment through public awareness campaigns, petitions and through the operation of nature reserves throughout the United Kingdom.
  • Rural Communities Council for Essex (RCCE) – RCCE is an independent charity helping people and communities throughout rural Essex build a sustainable future.
  • Tales From the Essex Riverbank – A blog by Matt Butcher who is the Environment Agencies Catchment Manager for Essex. The blog is Matt’s perspective on how the Environment Agency is improving rivers in Essex.

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Essex Rivers Hub


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.