More news...

Dec 31, 2017
Category: Conservation
Posted by: Kathryn

Restoration works to a tributary of the Chess are planned for early 2018.

Nov 21, 2017
Category: Abstraction
Posted by: Kathryn

River Chess groundwater levels at record lows, a dry river in Chesham for a year, but no water restrictions from Affinity Water.

Sep 18, 2017
Category: General
Posted by: Kathryn

A public River Chess forum will take place in support of the World Wildlife Fund's 'Nature Needs You' campaign.

Jul 12, 2017
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

With groundwater levels now exceptionally low, the river in Chesham is dry as far as Lord's Mill, Waterside.

Latest News

Illegal Traps Kill Water Voles

Jan 3, 2011

Category: Wildlife
Posted by: Kathryn

Illegal crayfish traps have killed water voles on the upper reaches of the Chess. The unauthorised traps were detected in Chesham by the Environment Agency. A number of water voles, Britain's most endangered mammal, had become caught in the traps and drowned. The River Chess Association is urging the public to be vigilant and to report such traps to the Environment Agency.

The traps had been set in order to trap signal crayfish, an invasive animal that has wiped out the indigenous white-clawed crayfish on the Chess. It is possible for signal crayfish to be caught legally and without harming other wildlife, as is being done successfully elsewhere on the river. Legal trapping requires written consent from the Environment Agency, the landowner's permission and the use of the right traps in the correct way to stop creatures like water voles becoming trapped. You can download a crayfish trapping guide from the Environment Agency.

The water vole population on the Chess crashed by 97% between 2001 and 2003, largely due to predatory American mink. A huge effort involving local landowners and conservation groups has enabled the water vole population along the river to bounce back. However, this recovery is fragile as the voles are still facing threats such as habitat loss and predation by mink, making these avoidable water vole kills all the more damaging.