Case Study

The Chilterns Chalk Streams Project


The Chilterns Chalk Streams Project is an exceptional initiative because of its; practical achievements; effectiveness in raising public and political awareness of a globally rare habitat; and longevity - it was established in 1997. In many ways it is an exemplar project.

Chalk streams are a characteristic and important feature of the Chiltern Hills, but are globally rare. In response to threats from pollution, habitat degradation and, particularly, over-abstraction for the public water supply the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project was set up 1997. Led by the Chilterns Conservation Board, the Project is a partnership of voluntary groups, statutory agencies, local authorities and water companies. It has its own officer, employed by the Conservation Board.

(c) Drake Chilterns NL - Chess Staff Restoration

Major achievements of the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project include:

Over £1 million invested in conservation and restoration of 9 chalk streams.

Enhancement and restoration of over 15km of chalk stream habitat.

Award winning Education Pack.

Creation of promoted and waymarked walks along six rivers.

Reduction in abstraction for the pubic water supply.

Education projects: Chilterns Water Festival and Trout in the Classroom.

Creation of local river conservation groups.

Regular volunteer work parties on 6 rivers

Water Vole Recovery Project – 97% population decline on the River Chess completely reversed in 8 years.

Riverfly monitoring groups set up and supported on 4 rivers.

Lead role in developing a catchment scale approach to river management.

Implementation of conservation projects on behalf of the Environment Agency.

Extensive riverside tree management and pollarding programme.

Restoration of water meadows.

Promotion of water conservation including support for water metering.

Advisory service to landowners and angling groups - over 200 visits.