British rivers: Water quality improving; seeing return of Sea Trout and Otters

Now here’s a nice feel-good piece of news! A while ago, otters, which were a common sight in British rivers, started to disappear due to being threatened by our overuse of pesticides. Now though, they are back in all regions of England and Wales. Also, the Thames river (which was previously so polluted it was classed “biologically dead”, but this year won the world’s biggest environmental prize due to a massive clean-up operation that brought it back to life), saw record numbers of sea trout in 2010.

Water quality in English and Welsh rivers has improved year on year for the past 20 years, according to the Government, and many are benefiting as a result. Now, the Environment Agency wants to see if we can go further, by encouraging farmers, businesses and water companies to make their technology even greener and reduce pollution even further and keep the water quality on the up.

Dr Rob Cunningham, the RSPB’s head of water policy, said: ”No-one is going to deny water quality has improved, largely in response to massive investment by the water industry.

”But a recent report by the Environment Agency showed that almost three-quarters of the rivers in England and Wales were still falling below European water-quality targets because they don’t support the fish, plants or bugs they are expected to while our most precious rivers and canals, those designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, have failed to improve in the past four years.

”So the Noughties might have shown some improvement thanks to the hard work of the water industry, its customers and regulators, but the next 10 years will be vital in tackling the persistent problems that continue to threaten our wetland species and habitats so they are ready for the changes that are coming with climate change.”

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