The Catchment Based Approach is dependent on having clear evidence of the current issues to be addressed in order to effectively prioritise the allocation of resources. Since the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), river catchments are being used as the scale at which strategic planning and reporting are undertaken.
But river catchments cover large areas (the Adur & Ouse being 1150 km2 and comprising of 51 waterbodies) and it is important that resources are focused in the right place in order to maximise the benefits derived from any intervention. With the WFD classifying ecological status across a range of 30 criteria collecting information from within each waterbody is vital to understanding the pressures which exist and their sources as well as likely solutions. This can’t be done effectively without knowing the river.
Walkover Surveys are a method for assessing the physical characteristics and quality of river habitats. These surveys have been developed to help the conservation and restoration of wildlife habitats along rivers and their surrounding floodplains, in effect providing the information required for river management bodies to sustain and enhance riverine habitats. These surveys have previously been shown to be an effective method of providing ground-truthed evidence which can be used to prioritise resources to combat a wide range of river-based issues.
The Adur & Ouse Catchment Partnership have supported over 200km of river walkover surveys since it was formed. The information collected from these surveys is sent to landowners and and used to make informed decisions on focal areas for project delivery.