Poole Harbour catchment initiative
During 2012 the Poole Harbour catchment initiative (PHCI) was one of the first pilots in England to trial the catchment based approach. This involved each pilot developing a stakeholder engagement process to identify the key issues and solutions in their catchment.
During the pilot stage, the PHCI was originally known as the Frome & Piddle catchment initiative but this name was changed in May 2013 when the boundary of the catchment was extended to incorporate all rivers and streams that drain into Poole Harbour.
The PHCI aims to achieve:
- sustainable farming, development, water use and sewage treatment that supports healthy rivers and groundwater in the Poole Harbour catchment
- recognition of the ecosystem services that the catchment can provide and an adequate payment to those that manage the land to provide these services
- improvement to biodiversity habitats both in the form of naturally functioning rivers, floodplains and wetlands and appropriately located woodland and low-input grassland
- national environmental standards for the benefit of wildlife, users of these waters, and Poole Harbour.
There are many challenges facing the water environment, to make a real difference there needs to be an integrated approach to sharing knowledge and delivering improvements that will protect the water, land and people in the long term.
Combining our efforts in a strategic manner and making decisions based on a good evidence will help us to make progress and protect our catchment for future generations.
The catchment partnership has jointly identified five key issues that are relevant to the Poole Harbour Catchment:
Nitrogen and phosphorus
High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways is undesirable because it encourages excessive growth of algae which smothers native plants and reduces oxygen levels in the water, which can affect fish.
When washed off land in excess it can be harmful to fish, invertebrates and aquatic plants in the rivers. It can also bring more phosphorus into the river.
Historic channel and habitat alterations
Putting weirs and barriers across the river can prevent fish migration. Changing the natural path of a river. By widening, straightening and deepening can cause a multitude of problems with flooding and flow.
Low flows can affect the ecology and the aesthetics of a river, high flows increase the risk of flooding.