The recent dramatic flooding before and after Christmas was a timely reminder of the power of Exmoor’s rivers. Bridges were damaged or destroyed, fields denuded of soil,tarmac ripped up on roads and lanes, trees and silt deposited in different places and many houses flooded. It could be argued that we neglect at our peril the importance that rivers
and streams play in our lives. Exmoor’s rivers are an important source of supply for drinking water and water quality;
they provide crucial habitats which support a wide range of species including salmon and other migratory fish. Many of the fast flowing scenic rivers have carved dramatic landforms and picturesque floodplains, evoking a strong sense of place and attracting
people partaking in different recreational activities. Rivers also provide economic benefits.But, these rivers also face many threats, ranging from climate change, diffuse pollution and flooding to habitat destruction and decline in species, to access problems with conflict between users. How can these threats be managed, and who is responsible for dealing with them? Are the rights and responsibilities of landowners properly recognised? What are the implications of the EU Water Framework Directive and what new approaches to management are being established? Do we make too many demands on the river
The Exmoor Society’s 9th Annual Spring Conference in partnership with the National Park Authority aims to raise important issues and influence the debate on how to manage this complex landscape. We are delighted that a range of speakers will be dealing with the questions raised, with plenty of opportunity for delegates to open up the debate for people who are concerned about the different demands we make on rivers. Significant contributions are being made on Exmoor to ‘Upstream Thinking’, and Charles Cowap, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and South West Water will outline
his recent Exmoor research on payment for eco-system services. We very much hope you will join us for the day and we should be grateful if you could complete the booking form attached, together with your cheque for £12 and return it to The Exmoor Society no later than 19th April 2013. Places are limited. Cheques payable please to “The Exmoor Society”.