So far in this blog series we’ve looked at what English chalk streams are, where they come from, and why they’re important. In this fourth installment (the first of a two-parter), we’ll be discussing three key threats to the chalk stream sustainability: water abstraction; fisheries management; and river channel modification.
In the UK, 55% of all groundwater-abstracted drinking water is sourced from chalk aquifers. The abstraction of water for human consumption increases the likelihood of low flows in winterbournes during summer. Low flows often result in fine sediment deposition and aquatic habitat loss, which is deleterious to submerged macrophytes and spawning fish. It is thought that low-flow alleviation schemes may assist in recovering winterbourne ecology during a time of both increased human demand for water and reduced precipitation inputs due to climate change.
Fisheries management, both for recreational and commercial purposes…
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