More news...

May 3, 2018
Category: Abstraction
Posted by: Kathryn

With an ever-growing demand for drinking water and increasingly extreme weather events, how do we get the water we need without causing even more harm to our rivers?

May 2, 2018
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

Our riverfly monitors are back out in the centre of Chesham checking for life in the Chess now that flow has returned.

Mar 24, 2018
Category: HS2
Posted by: Kathryn

A public meeting with HS2 and the Environment Agency looked at the risks posed by tunnelling to the groundwater and rivers of the Chess and Misbourne Valleys.

Dec 31, 2017
Category: Conservation
Posted by: Kathryn

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

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.