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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

The impact of our research – the Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum

Published: 19 November 2012

The Vitacress Conservation Trust hosted the fifth Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum at Sparsholt College on 16 November 2012 with two University of Southampton academics speaking.

The Vitacress Conservation Trust (VCT) is a charitable organisation
The Vitacress Conservation

The Trust, Chaired by Professor Gail Taylor, Director of Research for Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton, with Patron Lady Wakeham is committed to preserving and enhancing the iconic chalk streams of Hampshire. The forum provides an annual opportunity to bring together all of those with a similar interest in chalk streams. The meeting attracted over 100 attendees including Natural England, Environment Agency, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, riparian land owners and commercial partners.

At the meeting, Dr Pete Shaw, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Sciences described his latest research on phosphorous concentrations on the Itchen and Test streams where on both rivers, phosphorous is, for the majority of time, higher than that recommended for a ‘natural condition'. Then Professor Gail Taylor reported recent activity of the Bourne Rivulet Initiative, including plans to consider the development of a wetland for improved water quality on the Bourne, headwater of the Test.

After lunch a panel of experts was joined by local MP, Steve Brine, who was happy to hear concerns of the group, including new pressure on water resources as a consequence of increasing housing in Hampshire. The meeting concluded with a commitment to continue to work together with a priority to consider the consequences of low flows for river ecology and functioning.

Speaking afterwards, Steve said: "I really enjoyed the event and found the combined depth of knowledge really useful. I am acutely aware I have some of the best chalk streams on the planet in my constituency and understanding them is very important to me. I learnt a lot at the Forum and will be briefing the Minister on all the key issues."

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