12 days of Rivers Trusts – Day 10: Introducing Norfolk Rivers Trust
Ursula Juta, Education and Catchment Manager, introduces Norfolk Rivers Trust…
When did your Trust form?
We formed in 2011.
How many people work at your Trust?
We currently have 8 members of staff and just awaiting a new recruit for the farm advisor position.
What are the main issues with Rivers in your catchment?
We are in a predominantly rural, agricultural county with lots of chalk streams. Abstraction, siltation and agricultural runoff are some of our primary concerns, as well as the risk of encroaching signal crayfish wiping out our last remaining white-clawed crayfish populations.
Are there any particular rivers keeping you up at night and why?
Currently, the River Hun seems to be on our radar regularly. The area is a hot spot for holiday homes, caravan parks and seasonal influxes of tourists. Local development planning and permissions are less than ideal with regular reports of ponds being filled in, water vole habitat damaged by builders, invasive species on the marshes, sewage discharged into the river and poor fish and invertebrate populations. We are working closely with the parish council, Norfolk AONB, Environment Agency and the University of East Anglia to gather data and evidence to support a catchment scale river improvement project.
Why is the above picture your favourite photo of the year?
The photo is one of our favourites because it marked the official opening of one of our largest projects to date. This was a partnership between Anglian Water, Environment Agency and Norfolk Rivers Trust, delivered by amazing staff from William Morfoot, to build an integrated constructed wetland to primarily reduce Ammonia and Phosphate going into the river Ingol. The local primary school came in for a few days to help plant up the wetland with a variety of plant species to help filter the water from the sewage treatment works, as well as provide a wide variety of habitat for pollinators, bats, birds and amphibians which are all resident at the site. The young people learned all about water use, water pollution and their local river throughout the project via a series of assemblies and lessons. We hope that their learning impacts future behaviour which in turn improves the sensitive catchment.
What key issue or project will you be hoping to tackle in 2019?
For us, addressing sediment and run-off from rural roads and farms is our key priority. We have funding from WWF/Coca-Cola as well as talks with major supermarkets to improve and update farming techniques, create silt traps and engage and educate local business and farmers about the benefits of sustainable farming practices.
Any Christmas wishes or New Year’s resolutions for the Trust this year?
We really hope Father Christmas brings a solution to managing invasive signal crayfish or drops a big pile of cash down the chimney; we are desperately seeking approximately £20,000 to build a crayfish hatchery to hold and protect some of our native crayfish before we lose them from our rivers altogether.
Our New Years Resolution is to be more Pirate. Aaarrrrgg!