Data and evidence are a critical part of integrated catchment management, helping partners to engage a wide audience, agree on the priority issues and solutions, and monitor outcomes.
Effective visualisation of data through maps, infographics and other media helps develop an understanding of complex environmental systems, builds confidence and eases communication between a wide range of people and organisations who need to work in partnership to improve the water environment.
Collaboration through Evidence Sharing
The above map is just one example of how The Rivers Trust can pull together a raft of data and information to communicate with wider stakeholders. The growing availability of Open Data, combined with advances in mobile and online mapping software and wider access to fast broadband have enabled Rivers Trusts to make better use of data and evidence to work more effectively in collaboration. ‘Story Map’ templates, developed by The Rivers Trust and shared with local Trusts, have enabled better data sharing between organisations and local communities by visualising complex information in a way everyone can understand.
This helps people from government, business and charities, who all have very different priorities, language and culture, to develop a shared vision for their catchment. A shared evidence base enables partners to jointly target areas for action, such as deciding which farms to work with to prevent water pollution, whilst also slowing or holding back water to reduce flooding downstream, and protecting wildlife. Online maps are also helping engage local communities by enabling people to take an active role in developing the evidence base through crowd-sourcing and citizen science.
The Rivers Trust Mapping Portal
This online resource is a collection of data, maps and apps, and GIS training resources, to help member trusts and Catchment Partnerships use data and evidence in their local catchments.
There are example story maps which the Rivers Trust team have helped local Trusts and Catchment Partnerships to develop, and some national apps which help explore the range of catchment data and evidence available. There is an online data package, which contains a range of key layers to support catchment planning. Rivers Trusts and Catchment Partnerships can use these layers in their own GIS systems, filtering the data to their catchment. There are also links to training resources, including an online training portal which Rivers Trusts and Catchment Partnerships can use to train staff in key GIS and spatial analysis skills.
The Rivers Trust Mapping Portal contains maps and apps, data and training to support collaborative catchment management planning. It includes an online data package of map layers to help inform catchment management.
The Rivers Trust Data and Evidence Team
We have a strong data and evidence team with a range of technical analysis, data management and visualisation skills, including hydrological and pollution modelling, statistical analysis, data management and geographic information systems (GIS). Our team works closely with data and evidence technical staff in member Trusts, sharing staff resource on projects, and building technical capacity around the country.
They can provide technical support, advice and training to member trusts and CaBA Catchment Partnerships looking to make the best use of data and evidence in their catchment management planning activities.
For more information on data and evidence tools, resources and case studies are shared with the catchment management community via the Catchment Based Approach website or local Rivers Trusts can learn for free about GIS using the link below.
The Catchment Data User Group
The Catchment Data User Group coordinates data and evidence sharing work between many organisations across all sectors. We helped establish the Catchment Data User Group in 2012 and co-chair the group with the Environment Agency.
This cross-sectoral group meets quarterly to provide feedback to the Environment Agency on data requirements and to coordinate the development of data and evidence sharing tools and techniques to support the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA).
Working in partnership with group members, our data and evidence team have developed a wide range of tools and resources to support Rivers Trusts and CaBA partnerships, including a GIS data package of 120+ layers, clipped to each catchment in England, with a user guide to help local groups spatially target catchment management activities.
Catchment Data User Group members developed an online Evidence Sharing Platform to help partners share and discuss evidence about their catchment.