The Upper Thames Catchment Partnership works with research institutions such as the Countryside and Community Research Institute, Reading University and the University of West of England to monitor and evaluate our projects. Many partners already monitoring projects and the Partnership will be looking at gathering the available information to report on environmental improvements at catchment scale.

Joint hosts CCRI provide evaluation for The WILD Project. You can read more by clicking here.

 

The WILD project has also been evaluated internationally through the PEGASUS project.

Download the document by clicking on the image below:

 


PEGASUS Case Study - The WILD Project UK

 

 

CaBA Past Projects

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Broad Primary Objective

Project/ Activity Name

Description of pressure addressed/objective of.activity............................................................................ Protected area drivers? Was activity endorsed by Catchment Partnership Evidence used to identify issue................................ Description of activity/measure ......................................................................... "Date Undertaken" Scale of delivery WB or Operational Catchment ID Lead partner? "Other organisations/ partners involved" Main Funding Source Main Funding Value (£) Match Funding obtained (£).............................. In -Kind Value Generated (£)................................... Diffuse Pollution Point pollution River length Restored Flood Risk River Ecology/ Water Quality Fish Migration Invasive Species Water Scarcity Habitats Created Wildlife/ Biodiv. People engaged Recreation/ amenity Social/cultural benefits Economic Outputs Quantification & description of expected outcomes..................................................................................... Outcomes determined/estimated using monitoring or extrapolation from literature?

Description of.monitoring & evaluation methods used (including metrics)...................................................

How was a baseline established prior to intervention Evidence demonstrating outcomes achieved & maintenance.........................
Engagement Defra Cotswolds PES Trial "Develop a framework to deliver Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Cotswolds catchment area engaging landowners and multiple beneficiaries around water quality and quantity, land management, energy production and landscape. The range of pressures in the whole catchment ecosystem are caused by a wide spectrum of interconnecting factors, but primarily influenced by land use, directly linked to human activity and the need to produce food for an expanding population. 5 objectives: 1. Collect and integrate existing data as part of a detailed evidence base; 2. To develop a PES framework from a ‘buyers’ perspective; 3. To survey and evaluate ‘sellers’ and develop a PES framework from ‘sellers’ perspective; 4. Assisting in discussions concerning the location of field trials to address knowledge gaps in the evidence base; and 5. To develop and agree a PES framework for the Upper Thames Catchment " YES YES Call from Defra to develop potential PES projects/methodologies "The project facilitated meetings between potential 'buyers' such as Thames Water and Ecotricity and potential 'sellers' which were landowners that could prove services such as metaldehyde free water and grassland suitable for use in green gas production. The project focussed on two steps, Step 1 - Identify a saleable ecosystem service, or services, and prospective buyers and sellers Step 2 - Establish PES scheme principles and resolve technical issues. " April 2013-March 2014 Operational Catchment Upper Thames Countryside and Community Research Institute, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West Natural England, Environment Agency, University of the West of England, Thames Water, National Farmers Union, Gloucestershire County Council, and Czero DEFRA 18,251 Attendance at meetings by Thames Water, National Farmer's Union, Environment Agency, Natural England and Gloucestershire County Council. YES NO NO YES YES NO NO NO NO YES YES NO NO YES " The main outcomes of this PES pilot were: 1. the successful use of the integrated local delivery (ILD) framework to determine the saleable ecosystem services and develop the PES framework; 2. a list of prioritised land management options discussed by both buyers and sellers forming the basis for follow-on discussions. This included consideration for the development of a Grassland Code, similar to the Woodland code to maximise the benefits of grassland for ecosystem services and provide a sustainably management source of material for renewable energy production through AD biomass production; 3. to deliver a proposal for a ‘layered’ PES arrangement that could provide a range of ecosystem service benefits to a range of buyers provided by many farmers and landowner (sellers) in the catchment." Both

Evaluation undertaken by Defra from the final report prepared by CCRI and FWAG SW. Final report available http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=0&ProjectID=18687#Description

Literature review and knowledge of working in catchment WILD project Phase 1 final report, site walkovers
Rural diffuse pollution WILD 1 Reducing rural diffuse pollution and restoring river habitat in order to improve the ecological condition of rivers within the Cotswold Water Park area. YES YES WFD status of waterbodies and EA monitoring data Farm visits, walkover surveys of catchment and river network to identify opportunity areas for work and the subsequent completion of enhancement works, engagement of parishes, himalayan balsam control, production of the Community Guide to the Water Environment and ditch maintenance guidelines 2012-2016 Waterbody Multiple waterbodies in an around the Cotswold Water Park area. Within the Upper Thames catchment FWAG SW Gloucestershire Rural Community Council, Cotswold Water Park Trust, Countryside and Community Research Institute, Environment Agency, National Farmers Union Environment Agency 450,000 242,000 Volunteer hours equating to 216,000 YES YES YES YES YES YES YES NO YES YES YES YES YES YES 298 farm visits carried out, involving 118 different farms representing nearly all eligible agricultural land. Over 95% of farmers have taken practical action on their farms in the form of land management practice, infrastructure improvements or habitat restoration. Total of 300km of ditches surveyed and 3km of ditches sympathetically managed. Ditch Management Guidelines produced. Parish River Management plans created for 14 waterbody/parishes providing guidelines for parishes to follow when looking to improve local rivers. All communities engaged in WILD through Parish Planning (16 parishes and 3 towns). 2.7km of river treated for Himalayan Balsam infestation. 25km of river surveys undertakenfor notable species and potential for river enhancements. Shade reduction and tree pollarding works conducted on 8555m. Large Woody Debris deflectors and faggots installed in 5,580m. New and improved fencing installed on 5066m.Implementation of physical works to benefit riparian habitats in line with the catchment management plan. National conference on the WILD project attended by 84 delegates across the UK Monitoring undertaken Surveys in each year of the project across parishes, local authorities, farmers/landowners and partners. Survey undertaken by CCRI. Photographs of work. EA monitoring results. Anecdotal evidence of reduced flood risk Baseline WQ data captured by EA monitoring. Photos from walkover surveys. Project survey in year 1 WILD project Phase 1 final report, site walkovers
Investigation/evidence Catchment Walkovers High levels of metaldehyde and concern about the level of use of other peticides such as propyzamide, carbetamide and mecoprop. Investigating land use, cropping and pesticide use within the catchment. NO YES Thames Water monitoring results from sampling points within the catchment Contacting all landowners within the catcment to find out the type of farm business, arable cropping rotation, pesticides used and extent of land farmed. This information will be a vital tool going forward when developing projects and has enabled wide scale engagement with the farming community throughout the Upper Thames. 2015- present (ongoing) Operational Catchment Upper Thames Thames Water and FWAG SW Thames Water 223,690 YES NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO YES NO NO NO Thorough understanding of the land use within the catchment and the farming practice High level of response from farmers CLAD data was available to Thames Water however this was largely out of date and inaccurate. Comprehensive database of landowners, farm businesses, land use, pesticide use and knowledge of land farmed by whom within the catchment, as shown using GIS
Rural diffuse pollution Metaldehyde Product Replacement Trial Addressed high metaldehyde levels in surface waters and general diffuse water pollution through provision of farm advice to reduce run-off (through measures such as buffers, improved soil management etc) and inform farmers of an effective alternative to metaldehyde, which is not problematic to drinking water supplies. NO YES Thames Water monitoring results from sampling points within the catchment Farm visits and phone calls to landowners/farmers in the catchment to explain the pollution pressure put on drinking water from agricultural pesticides and to recommend mitigation measures on the farm, includng take up of suitable Countryside Stewardship options. 2015-2017 (envisaged that this will be ongoing) Waterbody Ampney Brook Thames Water and FWAG SW Thames Water 19,248 YES NO NO NO YES NO NO NO YES YES YES NO NO YES Behaviour change on farms will lead to a reduction in diffuse water pollution (particularly of pesticides), reducing the pollution pressure on surface waters used for drinking waters. Increased take up of Countryside Stewardship options Monitoring undertaken Thames Water sampling points within the catchment. Percentage of relevant landowners engaged with the scheme, percentage of land within the catchment signed up to scheme and shown on GIS.Post season survey to be undertaken. Thames Water sampling points within the catchment Difficult to quantify due to seasonal changes in weather and slug pressure
Rural diffuse pollution Payments for Ecosystem Projects Use of a Payments for Ecosystem Services framework to address high metaldehyde levels in surface waters and general diffuse water pollution through provision of farm advice to reduce run-off (through measures such as buffers, improved soil management etc) and inform farmers of an effective alternative to metaldehyde, which is not problematic to drinking water supplies. NO YES Thames Water monitoring results from sampling points within the catchment Farm visits to landowners/farmers/contractors/agronomists in the catchment to explain the pollution pressure put on drinking water from agricultural pesticides and to recommend mitigation measures on the farm, includng take up of suitable Countryside Stewardship options. Facilitating the sign up of farmers to the Thames Water PES scheme where farmers are paid depending on the results of water quality monitoring. 2016-2017 (envisaged that this will be ongoing) Waterbody River Ray, Marston Meysey Brook and River Cole catchment Thames Water and FWAG SW Thames Water 54,863 Some match funding used from WILD project, Farmer Guardians of the Upper Thames Project and Rest Assured project funds. This enabled a greater degree of farm advice to be given. YES NO NO NO YES NO NO NO YES YES YES NO NO YES Behaviour change on farms will lead to a reduction in diffuse water pollution (particularly of pesticides), reducing the pollution pressure on surface waters used for drinking waters. Increased take up of Countryside Stewardship options Monitoring undertaken Thames Water sampling points within the catchment. Percentage of relevant landowners engaged with the scheme, percentage of land within the catchment signed up to scheme and shown on GIS. Post season survey to be undertaken Thames Water sampling points within the catchment Difficult to quantify due to seasonal changes in weather and slug pressure
Engagement Healthy Churn Project Provision of volunteer work days with a focus on the development of social prescribing and support for adults from the local communities to get back into work through development of skills. Opportunities for corporate volunteers. NO YES Meetings with NHS staff members identified the potential to develop social prescribing opportunities in and around Cirencester. Meetings with local charities that help get people back into work Volunteer days along the River Churn to improve the riparian habitat and protect the banks. This included contruction of gravel drinking bays for cattle, river fencing, installation of woody berms, coppicing and vegetation management and himalyan balsam control. 2015-2016 Waterbody River Churn FWAG SW Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Cotswold Water Park Trust Summerfield Charitable Trust 6,500 2,500 NO YES YES NO YES NO YES NO YES YES YES YES YES NO

Two stretches of river restored with improved habitat and sources of sedimentation removed. Local volunteers engaged and social prescribing opportunities explored. Film showcasing some of this work https://vimeo.com/200330336

Monitoring undertaken Photographs of before and after and site surveys. Continued communication with links at local charities and the NHS trust Before photographs of stretches of river to be improved Photography and site walkovers. The process of social prescribing is being developed
Urban diffuse pollution Yellow Fish Project Diffuse and point source pollution from industrial estates and urban areas in Swindon. NO YES EA monitoring data. Project instigated by EA, due to the identified need Identify surface water drains and engage with businesses that may be inputting discharges into these drains to increase awareness that these flow directly into surface waters. Stick a yellow fish sticker onto surface water drains so that these are easily identifiable. 2016, monitoring ongoing Waterbody River Ray Cotswold Water Park Trust FWAG SW, EA, TW, Wilts Wildlife Trust Environment Agency 15,000 Volunteering hours YES YES NO NO YES NO NO NO NO NO YES NO NO NO Businesses in local area engaged and reduced urban diffuse pollution Monitoring undertaken Citizen Science monitoring of this stretch of the river is planned using simple nitrate and phosphate tests. This will involve a local school EA monitoring Project ongoing
Rural diffuse pollution, flooding and engagement Cirencester and WILD Churn (WILD 2) Disconnection between the parishes/ residents and the local River, flood risk impacting the lives of residents and diffuse water pollution affecting water quality within the catchment. NO YES Flooding in Cirencester and modelling of water flow within the catchment. Walkover surveys of old infrastructure and opportunity areas within the catchment, informed by the WILD 1 project Engage local residents through regular volunteer days. Reduce flood risk through implementing a number of NFM measures and improving land management and suitable land use further up the catchment. Continue working with parishes engaged in WILD 1 project and continue to address diffuse water pollution from agriculture in the catchment through the provision of farm advice. 2017-2020 Operational Catchment Upper Thames FWAG SW Cotswold Water Park Trust, Gloucestershire Rurual Community Council, CCRI, EA, NFU Environment Agency and Thames Water 150,000 152,000 YES YES YES YES YES YES YES NO YES YES YES YES YES YES "1170m of in channel enhancements per year. Improved soil structure and crop management; improved resource protection; Farm Infrastructure; compliance with EU regulation and uptake. Reduce DWPA and identify and implement solutions for Point Source pollution; species surveys along watercourses; Pollarding and coppicing of trees & scrub, 1300m per project year for river shade management; Installation of new/replacement riverside fencing 670m per project year; Installation of drinking bays or pasture pump sites 3 per year Total 18 Parishes and 4 towns being assisted in the understanding environmental issues and how water is relevant to community-led plans. Continuation of other objectives as outlined in WILD 1" Monitoring undertaken Riverfly monitoring and nitrate and phopshate testing. Photos of sites. EA monitoring data. CCRI survey and evaluation Information generated through the WILD 1 project
Physical modification Whitehill Stream CPAF The site is in an urban environment before it joins the River Ray. The River Ray is part of the Upper Thames catchment and is currently declining in ecological status due to its disconnection from the floodplain; poor habitat quality and diversity; and lack of hydromorphological diversity. Objective of project was to Reduce the impact of diffuse pollution from phosphate that arise from urban land use; Prevent the deterioration of water quality from point source pollution; reconnect the stream with the flood plain and increase hydromorphological diversity; enhance biodiversity NO YES EA monitoring data highlighted the declining ecological status and initial discussions within the CaBA partnership demonstrated support for a project in this area. The land owner, Swindon Borough Council, wished to improve the floodplain habitat along the Whitehill Stream. The designs were drawn up by Swindon Borough Council in conjunction with WWT 300m of new channel was created which takes water from the Whitehill Stream during high flows. Q3 2015 Plot/farm/site specific Ray (Wiltshire) source to Lydiard Brook Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Swindon Borough Council and FWAG SW CPAF (EA) 13,345 4,740 1,275 YES YES YES YES NO YES YES YES Rewetting the area will improve reed growth and provide additional habitat for species such as Reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus) and Grass snake (Natrix natrix). Lowering of the floodplain to increase inundation will also increase the amount of wet habitat, encouraging its use by a range of bird and animal species, such as Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) , Little egret (Egretta garzetta), Great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) and Common frog (Rana temporaria) Monitoring undertaken Monitoring of the site will consist of fixed point photography and plant and animal surveys of the flood plain Fixed point photography and site walk overs
Biodiversity / wildlife conservation / habitats Farmer Guardians of the Upper Thames Surface and ground water protection, looking at soil health, organic matter, soil biology, water attenuation as contributory to sustainable farming and reducing diffuse water pollution from agriculture. To restore habitats on farm and deliver Countryside Stewardship priorities. YES YES Countryside Stewardship targeting Form a collaborative group of farmers and land managers to deliver the Countryside Stewardship priorities for the Upper Thames and Clay Vales. This will be done through individual Mid and Higher Tier agreements with Natural England where landscape options are worked up collaboratively to deliver Biodiversity; Priority Habitats and Species Protection; Water Quality and reducing Flood Risk; Woodland Restoration; Riparian Management; Boundary restoration and Soil Management. 2015-2020 Operational Catchment Upper Thames FWAG SW Natural England Natural England 250,000 YES YES YES YES YES NO NO NO YES YES YES NO NO NO 6 Farm training events per year, 4 practical events per year for farmers leading to improved land management, creation of habitat and increase in quality of habitat across the catchment. One to many Countryside Stewardship advisory service resulting in an increased uptake in Mid and higher tier countryside stewardship. Engagement with local community helping to reduce flood risk Monitoring undertaken Quarterly reporting. Records kept of amount of Countryside Stewardship options implemented through the mid and higher tier CS agreements in the group.Working with Redlist Revival to develop methodolgy for assessing measure of farmland bird activity on farms, in comparison to the national average Farm Environment Plans completed as part of the Countryside Stewardship application process. Back ground mapping undertaken of habitats and water flow across all holdings Quarterly reporting to Natural England. Anticipated that evidence wll be generated through use of the Redlist Revival framework. Project ongoing
River habitat restoration Coln Habitat Management Programme (SITA) Poor river ecology, damage to river banks and overshading. Problems with non native invasive species (namely himalayan balsam). Some risk from agricultural diffuse pollution. YES YES Opportunities identified through long term landowner engagement including site surveys (e.f water voles, WFD) Restoration of river ecology and bankside habitat through in-channel works, reducing overshading and river fencing. Some hedge planting in the wider landscape to reduce risk of run off and diffuse pollution into the River. financial year 2014-2015 Waterbody GB106039029991 and GB106039029992 Coln (Source to Coln Rogers) and Coln (from Coln Rogers) and Thames (Coln to Leach) Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Environment Agency SITA 27,968 Volunteering work days YES YES YES NO YES NO YES NO YES YES YES YES YES YES River improvement works carried out along over 3.5km, 117 people engaged Monitoring undertaken Monthly kick sampling at fixed points Long term landowner engagement including site surveys (e.f water voles, WFD) Results of fixed point kick sampling
Physical modification Whitehill Stream Phase 2- Swindon Following on from the work carried out in 2015 (phase 1), there was no connectivity between the stream and the flood plain. This meant that during period of high flow, the water is not distributed in a sustainable manner and could cause potential flood issues to the surrounding infrastructure. NO YES This project was instigated at the request of the land owner (Swindon Borough Council), who wished to improve the floodplain habitat along the Whitehill Stream. The designs were drawn up by Swindon Borough Council in conjunction with WWT Phase 2 of this project was to create a second wet meadow. This consisted of lowering an area of 500m2 by up to 0.5m at the deepest point. In addition, due to some issues over land ownership and the selling off of an area of floodplain, the spoil heap created and planted in Phase I of the project had to be moved to an area adjacent to its previous location. Q2 2016 Plot/farm/site specific Ray (Wiltshire) source to Lydiard Brook Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Swindon Borough Council, Thames Water Swindon Borough Council and Thames Water 9,500 3,500 300 NO NO NO YES YES NO YES NO YES YES YES NO NO NO An area of 500m2 was lowered, creating marginal wetland, which was then planted with appropriate native plants to improve the habitat value of the site. The planting was carried out with the help of local volunteers Monitoring undertaken WWT will continue to monitor the site and ensure that the plants planted continue to grow and create a marginal wetland. A monitoring programme consisting of site walkovers and fixed point photography will be carried out. This monitoring of the site will identify any changes in the plant community structure of the floodplain and the morphology of the channel. Fixed point photography and site walk overs Fixed point photography and site walk overs
Biodiversity / wildlife conservation / habitats Markham Banks Early in 2016, an internal advisory visit led to development of this project. Initially only focussing on sky lighting the heavily shaded channel, it evolved into a larger project, in which woodland rewetting and further habitat improvement works became included. YES YES Advisory visits and site walkovers On numerous patches along the stream trees were felled and coppiced to allow more light to reach the stream bed. The logs and branches were used to create log jams and other features to help retain water and rewet the woodland. In several places this was tied in with derelict historic brick structures (old water penning ponds), for maximum benefit. At the diocese meadows site, two lengths of bank were regraded to create additional wet habitat and reconnect the stream with the surrounding landscape – physical as well as visual. Q2/3 2016 Plot/farm/site specific Ray (Wiltshire) source to Lydiard Brook Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Swindon Borough Council, Wroughton Parish Council and Thames Water Swindon Borough Council and Wroughton Parish Council 11,900 7,262 3,888 NO NO NO YES YES NO NO NO YES YES YES NO NO NO 22 inventions were implemented throughout the 1.4km reach. The size and type of these interventions were bespoke to the localised conditions, but with an overarching view of what was needed within the reach as a whole, as well as where access allowed us to. As such, regrading of the banks was restricted to the central part of the site. Monitoring undertaken WWT will continue to monitor the site. We estimate that the woodland will become wetter, creating a more diverse habitat in Clouts wood. Monitoring of the site will consist of fixed point photography. In this way, changes in channel morphology and biodiversity will be picked up and provide an indicator for the success of the project Advisory visit and multiple site visits Fixed point photography and site walk overs

 


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