Churt sits in the catchment of the River Wey and its streams and waterways feed into both Frensham Great Pond and Frensham Little Pond before reaching the Wey.
A healthy river system is one with a rich diversity of species and habitats, all co-existing in clean water. As well as being somewhere we like to spend time, a healthy river can provide us with clean drinking water, flood retention and many more services important in our day-to-day lives. The UK has come a long way since the 1970s, when many of our rivers were inhospitable places to both people and wildlife. We now have the cleanest rivers for decades; however, there are still many challenges we face before our rivers will be in a good ecological state again.
Several key species rely on healthy river ecosystems. These include the nationally scarce water vole and the otter, which is only just beginning to recolonise Surrey.
Surrey Wildlife Trust launched RiverSearch in 2013 to monitor and improve river health on the Wey and Mole catchments. With the help of volunteers, the Trust assesses and restores stretches of river across the county to help wildlife thrive in these important habitats.
Churt has its own very small team of Riversearch volunteers who have surveyed our streams and monitor them to identify any pollution issues and causes. Pollution can be point source (such as a pipe outflow into a river, sewage effluent from septic tanks, phosphates from household chemicals, road drain overflow) or diffuse pollution usually associated with land around the river such as agricultural chemical run-off or soil / sediment deposition due to bank erosion from livestock, straight line ploughing or lack of fringe vegetation. And of course, waterways also suffer from litter – or even abandoned supermarket trolleys – though fortunately no trolleys have been found in Churt yet.
If you spot any significant pollution in and around Churt, please email details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Riversearch volunteers also look for signs of rare water-based native wildlife such as water voles and for invasive species – both living ones like Signal Crayfish, or plants such as Floating Pennywort, Himalayan Balsam etc. Volunteers also look for any barriers to wildlife passage Water quality is assessed by phosphate sampling and/or water invertebrate sampling.
These techniques have been employed in two specific Surrey Wildlife Trust led projects in Churt in recent years. One monitored for sewage overflow at Churt Pumping and the second built on that project to work towards improving water quality in Frensham Great Pond.