Fisheries monitoring on the Afon Cynin, Cywyn and Dewi Fawr (Taf Catchment) for the Water Framework Directive by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has shown a remarkable recovery in fish populations over the last 6 years. Monitoring on these rivers in 2008 identified poor fish numbers, potentially associated with an increased number of agricultural pollution incidents, which affected water quality.
An agricultural catchment campaign to help address the increasing frequency of agricultural pollution incidents was undertaken , to help protect water quality and try to increase local fish populations.
The work by NRW on these river catchments has been supported by Farming Connect and has included:
stakeholder engagement with the farming unions and farmers to discuss and agree ways to deal with the increasing agricultural pollution incidents;
targeted pollution prevention visits to farms leading to improvement plans and/or enforcement notices on slurry or silage stores;
discussion events within the catchment to promote best practice on specific land and yard management issues;
Young Farmers quiz nights to raise awareness of the importance of the Water Framework Directive, highlight key agricultural issues in the catchment and promote good agricultural practice;
regular articles in local farming unions newsletters giving guidance on key issues;
provision of free soil sampling and advice to farmers to promote improved nutrient management and better utilisation of organic manure and slurry on farm.
Improvements to farm infrastructure and changes to land management practices have resulted in a drop in the number of pollution incidents reported within in the catchments.
The fisheries sites were re-surveyed in 2014 following this work and showed significant improvements in fish numbers – both the Dewi Fawr and Cywyn catchments have improved from ‘moderate’ ecological status in 2009 to ‘good’ at present. Further work on the Cynin is on-going which will hopefully bring about similar ecological improvements.
For further information on the campaign please contact Philip Morgan, Natural Resources Wales on 03000 654047.