Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Britain's urban rivers bounce back

Date:
June 29, 2012
Source:
Cardiff University
Summary:
After decades of pollution, typically from poorly treated sewage and industrial waste, rivers in or near Britain's major urban areas are regaining insects such as mayflies and stoneflies that are typical of fast-flowing, oxygen-rich waters.

Urban rivers throughout England and Wales have improved dramatically in water quality and wildlife over the last 20 years.

Related Articles


That's the conclusion of one the largest studies of national trends in river health ever undertaken.

After decades of pollution, typically from poorly treated sewage and industrial waste, rivers in or near Britain's major urban areas are regaining insects such as mayflies and stoneflies that are typical of fast-flowing, oxygen-rich waters. The range of invertebrates found has also increased, on average, by around 20%.

Researchers from the School of Biosciences carried out an independent analysis of data supplied by the Environment Agency using almost 50,000 samples from thousands of rural and urban locations.

The team puts the general improvement down to industrial decline, tighter regulation and improved wastewater treatment over recent decades.

The recovery has not been universal, however. Rivers in some rural upland areas -- such as Wales and parts of northern England -- appeared to deteriorate slightly. The team is now investigating these trends further.

Another important finding was that drought years reversed the recovery -- at least temporarily.

Dr Ian Vaughan, lead author of the study said: "These important results show how benefits to river biodiversity -- the huge array of species that live in our rivers -- have arisen from investment and long-term restoration intended largely for other 'river ecosystem services' such as drinking water and sanitation."

Co-author, Professor Steve Ormerod, added: "While some pollutants are still problematic, there is no doubt that this is a major success story that shows what can be achieved by effective environmental regulation. These are very large improvements not only for river ecosystems, but for the many people who live, work and play along their banks everywhere from Burnley to the Black Country or from Merthyr Tydfil to Cardiff."

Head of Catchment Management at the Environment Agency, David Baxter, said: "High quality environments promote wellbeing and creativity, so improvements in rivers are important for wildlife, people and the economy. It is great to see this independent analysis confirm that urban rivers are recovering, but there is still more work to do. We're working with farmers, businesses and water companies to reduce pollution and improve water quality and we have plans to transform more than 9,500 miles of rivers in England and Wales by 2015."

A paper describing the study appears in the current issues of the international journal, 'Global Change Biology'.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cardiff University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ian P. Vaughan, Steve J. Ormerod. Large-scale, long-term trends in British river macroinvertebrates. Global Change Biology, 2012; 18 (7): 2184 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02662.x

Cite This Page:

Cardiff University. "Britain's urban rivers bounce back." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629142523.htm>.
Cardiff University. (2012, June 29). Britain's urban rivers bounce back. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629142523.htm
Cardiff University. "Britain's urban rivers bounce back." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629142523.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Late Winter Storm Wreaks Havoc Across Eastern US

Late Winter Storm Wreaks Havoc Across Eastern US

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) — A strong cold front moving across the eastern U.S. has dumped deep snow in some regions, creating hazardous conditions from Kentucky to New England. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Keurig Co-Founder Says Company Has A Waste Problem

Keurig Co-Founder Says Company Has A Waste Problem

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) — Keurig co-founder John Sylvan told The Atlantic he doesn&apos;t even own a Keurig because they&apos;re too expensive and produce too much waste. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) — Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Injured Miners Treated After Blast

Raw: Injured Miners Treated After Blast

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) — An explosion ripped through a coal mine before dawn Wednesday in war-torn eastern Ukraine, killing at least one miner, officials said. Graphic video of injured miners being treated in a Donetsk hospital. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins