Cleaner estuaries and coasts start with good land usage.............

Tom Hynes is the Landscape and Biodiversity Officer for the UNESCO North Devon's Biosphere Reserve.

Tom’s talk, illustrated by informative slides, focussed on actions taken to mitigate challenges to pollution and biodiversity in the North Devon Biosphere’s catchment area: specifically of the Taw and Torridge rivers.

This is being carried out through three main projects, Catchment-Sensitive Farming, the Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project, and the Taw River Improvement project.

The main main objectives were to protect and improve the qualities  of the two rivers and their tributaries. Tom presented interesting examples of actions taken to help farmers reduce pollution run off from their farm buildings and land. He described a number of successes where partner agencies and, in particular, farmers were acting together to produce measurable improvements in the quality of the Biosphere catchment  area. The overall impression was of steady improvement and progress in both pollution control and increase in biodiversity.

He finished off with examples from the fight against some invasive non- native plants, although this battle seems to have some way to go.

Overall, an interesting, relevant and well presented talk, attracting a number of questions from the Coastwise members. It covered changes in Biosphere land usage and better river quality, with a resulting improvement in estuary health. There must be a knock-on benefit to the wider coastline, perhaps a topic for a talk in the future if any research has been carried out ?


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