Why are Chalk Streams Important?
Did you know that the River Lark and the River Linnet are chalk streams under threat unless we make sure they are protected? Chalk streams provide water to households and industry by way of an aquifier – an underground source of water. However, unless we take care of them this valuable source of water will, literally, dry up! See the video below for more information
“Protecting England’s Chalk Streams” – a Video from the World Wildlife Fund
Over three quarters of England’s unique chalk streams are failing to meet the required ‘good ecological status’ threatening some of the country’s most precious and irreplaceable countryside according to a report by WWF-UK.
To read more on this report, go here… http://www.wwf.org.uk/about_wwf/press_centre/?unewsid=7378
A legacy of over abstraction and neglect has left chalk streams in Great Britain in a poor state!
There are only around 200 chalk streams in the world, and 85% of these are found in England, so we have a special responsibility to look after them. A combination of geology and climate means that our chalk streams have characteristic features that support special wildlife habitats and species.
Why bother worrying about chalk streams?
Maybe you have more pressing matters to worry about- many of us do! However, as guardians and stewards of our planet- perhaps we should spare a few minutes to think about the legacy we are leaving our children and grandchildren? I, for one, get a major twinge of guilt when I think of how this generation is squandering resources with no thought of tomorrow. Water is the very essence of life! If we don’t take care of our waterways then future generations will struggle to survive and water will become as scarce as gold and command the same price. Is it really so difficult to put our names to a petition calling for more funding to support the conservation of rivers and waterways? is it really that difficult to do our own small bit by turning off the tap when brushing our teeth?
However great or small our contribution- it is important that we become aware that water is NOT an unlimited resource. We should not take it for granted that we can step outside our doors and take a walk beside a clear running stream. Bury St Edmunds, through which flow two chalk streams, the Lark and The Linnet, is a beautiful Medieval Historic town. It has a proud heritage of civil disobedience! It’s people are known to speak up about perceived injustice and poor conservation. The people of Bury St Edmunds fiercely protect their heritage and the chalk streams that flow through this beautiful town are part of that heritage.
Support the preservation of the chalk streams in Suffolk
Suffolk is predominantly an agricultural county- it needs water for irrigation and its rivers, streams and water mills are a feature of our tourist industry. The industries and households in Suffolk need water; clean, clear, unpolluted water. Our chalk streams, if well maintained, will provide that water. If we allow them to become neglected, changed, over abstracted- we threaten our future water supply.
You can play your part in a number of ways.
Reduce your water consumption and your bills! Try a water saving kit from the water authority WATER SAVING KIT HERE
Volunteer for the Suffolk Wildlife Trust- they are very concerned about how the destruction of river habitats are threatening wildlife in our area. VOLUNTEER HERE
Join the Bury Water Meadows group – help us to raise awareness of this issue
Enjoy the river walks and admire the scenery while improving your health! Rivers and meadows are there to be enjoyed and the Bury Water Meadows Group want everyone in the area to enjoy the Bury St Edmunds waterways. We campaigned to protect the Leg of Mutton to ensure the survival of the rivers and water meadows in the area. They are a hidden treasure- but not a secret! They are there to be savoured and provide pleasure for all. So, put on your walking shoes and go explore- you may be lucky enough to see kingfishers and water voles!
Watch out for the release of our FREE printed walking guide to these rivers and meadows – COMING in May 2015.
Key terms used in this post
Abstraction – taking water from rivers to supply homes, farms or industry
Aquifer – underground source of water (in this case chalk).