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How can you keep your river healthy and clean?

Nar photo

In a series of articles Norfolk Rivers Trust will provide advice to help maintain the health of our globally rare chalk streams and lowland rivers in Norfolk. In times of drought and hot weather it is especially important because of the wildlife our rivers support. Endangered white clawed crayfish, brown trout, eels, and water voles are just a few of the iconic species at risk in Norfolk and you can do your bit to help protect them.

Vegetation: while it is tempting to “tidy” the river by pulling out the plants, you are doing more harm than good. The vegetation in the river helps in so many ways! Firstly, plants shade the channel reducing the temperature of the water and keeping the water oxygenated. Secondly, plants hold back water in exceptionally low flows allowing the invertebrates and fish to survive in the damp conditions. Thirdly, plants take up the excess nutrients and pollutants resulting in cleaner water downstream; plants act as natural filters. And lastly, by taking out the vegetation you are removing the essential food that most of the aquatic food chain relies on! If you feel the river is “choked” you can call the Environment Agency for advice but generally the vegetation dies down over winter.

If you are a landowner with riparian land and would like to talk to us about restoration and rewilding please do get in touch with us at Norfolk Rivers Trust. We offer a wide range of services including surveys, restoration and management advice. Email

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