This week is shaping up to be one of the most prominent of the year so far for high-profile river health media coverage.

Investigating PFAs

On Monday (19 Feb), the ENDS Report and Watershed Investigations teams shared film TOXIC looking at the impact of PFAs (often known as forever chemicals) on our waterways. Taking part, river health campaigner and angler Feargal Sharkey said the issue is “probably the greatest crisis about to befall public health…”.

No laughing matter

Then on Tuesday (20 Feb), comedian Joe Lycett’s sewage-related documentary aired on Channel 4 and saw him donning protective clothing to get a close-up look of waste treatment systems and more.

Our work

Communications manager at the trust Josie Purcell said: “Given our charity has worked tirelessly for 30 years to restore and protect the region’s rivers, we are glad to see the health, and plight, of our rivers garner as much publicity as possible.”

Educating people about freshwater environments is a major part of our charity’s remit, while our Westcountry CSI scheme supports citizen scientists to monitor their local waterways. The data they provide builds a long-term picture of water quality and river biodiversity, which we share annually and use to inform our interventions and/or environmental regulators.

The latest Westcountry CSI scorecards will be live via very soon.

An example of where we combined community involvement, CSI, and nature-based solutions is our Plymouth River Keepers project.

This ran from 2020 to 2023. Created due to an Enforcement Undertaking between the Environment Agency and South West Water following a 2016 pollution incident in the Tamerton stream, 875 people engaged with the project. This included through litter picks, citizen science, events and taking fixed point photography images.

Our final report will be available at in the coming weeks.

Josie added: “Our charity will continue to be the boots on the ground and the wellies and waders in the water for as long as our region’s rivers need us.

“We work across varied sectors with interests in river health, finding ways to support positive change and deliver science-based solutions to the challenges facing our freshwater environments.

“As we celebrate 30 years in 2024 of restoring and protecting rivers , we know how much more still needs to be done.

“This can’t be achieved in isolation and we must consider myriad changes to how we use, relate to, and invest in our vital natural resource, water.

Support Us

If you would like to support our work, please visit to donate.