Lack of water is a serious worry in Dorset this year, according to the county’s largest conservation organisation. Dorset Wildlife Trust is concerned about the effects of the prolonged dry spell on a wide range wildlife that depends on rivers, ponds and wetland habitats.
Our rivers are in trouble
Sarah Williams, Dorset Wildlife Trust Conservation Officer, said: “We may not have restrictions on our water use as in the east of the country, but our rivers and their wildlife are in trouble. Several small streams are already drying up and parts of the winterbournes have not flowed at all this winter. It is vitally important that we all take saving water seriously now. This is something that everybody can do to help save our rivers and all the wildlife associated with them.”
Wildlife struggling to find food
The normal high winter flows in our rivers are important for oxygen levels, diluting pollutants and flushing silt to clean gravel beds where fish spawn. Low flows can make it difficult for fish such as salmon and eels to migrate upstream and the current situation is likely to have an impact on populations in a number of Dorset rivers this year. The lack of water will also affect white clawed crayfish, water voles, amphibians and wading birds, all of which will struggle to find food in dry conditions, while important water plants will suffer from raised water temperatures.
Sarah added: “Dorset Wildlife Trust is working to improve the health of our rivers by restoring natural rivers, reducing pollution and planting trees to increase shade and stability as part of the Dorset Wild Rivers Project. This should help them to be more resilient to both drought and flood. Things that you can do include practical volunteering to help us remove alien plants but, most importantly, saving water. It really is that simple and we all need to take it seriously.”
Love your river - save water
DWT is supporting the new Love your River campaign, backed by Defra, the National Trust, the Environment Agency, the Wildlife Trusts, Keep Britain Tidy, water companies and Waterwise, to promote the value and benefits of our rivers to our everyday life to inspire people to value their local rivers and take action to look after them.
For more information about our rivers and what you can do to help, click here or ring Sarah Williams on 01305 264620.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sarah Williams at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.