Although the Central Chilterns area does not appear to have much in the way of watery landscape features at first sight, look a little deeper and you will find many small streams and ponds. These form the headwaters and catchment for the nearby river Thame.
But we don’t know much about them. How many freshwater habitats are there? What sort? In what condition? And, especially, what biodiversity do they contain or have potential to host? The Water in a Dry Landscape project is set to find out. It will identify and map the biodiversity of freshwater features along the Chiltern escarpment, improve the better sites, and create more and bigger stretches of connected riverbank (riparian) habitats into the river Thame catchment.
The project will work with landowners to protect, improve and connect their waterways, and volunteers will be trained to survey the quality of water and habitats; thought to be the first study of its kind focusing on headwaters on a catchment scale, and therefore providing vital learning to similar catchment areas.