Required reading for river managers

There’s a widespread movement to fence livestock out of rivers – it seems to make intuitive sense where there are a lot (and I mean a lot) of cows and sheep in fields next to rivers, and they’re kicking up a lot of sediment into the water.

But there are two sides to this story and this article – British Wildlife: fencing of rivers is not ‘good for biodiversity’ by three of Britain’s most respected wildlife biologists – should be required reading for everyone in watery nature conservation.

What’s this got to do with ponds? Well, pond, streams, rivers and lakes are part of a continuum of habitats that shelter our freshwater biodiversity. But more directly, light trampling is a natural part of the ecology of all freshwaters – something we noted a long time ago in an article called ‘New approaches to pond management‘, which you can read here (page 284 has the discussion about trampling).

Of course, the intensity of trampling that goes with modern livestock densities is probably not a good thing. But equally, fencing all rivers is not the ideal solution either.

At this rate, maybe one day we’ll have to write a ‘New approaches to river management’ article too!


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