Hundreds of dead #fish found after river dries up, ‘unusual’, in the #Chilterns, #UK
A picturesque small river in the Chilterns has dried up, leaving hundreds of fish and shrimp dead, with experts and local action groups blaming climate change for reduced water levels.
Alarming photographs show the waterless muddy bottom of the River Misbourne in Buckinghamshire strewn with decomposing corpses.
The river is one of 260 chalk streams in the world, nine of which are in the Chilterns – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are notable for being very clear, and supporting a large diversity of wildlife.
Conservationists at the Chiltern Chalk Streams Project have called for a drought to be declared to prevent more creatures from suffering the same fate.
Project officer Allen Beechey said: “Our chalk streams are in crisis and facing a fight for survival.
“A combination of climate change and over-abstraction to supply our ever-rising demand for water has left chalk streams like the River Misbourne in a dire state.”
Bob Olden, founder of the Misbourne River Action group, told The Independent: “The Misbourne is dry for an exceptional amount of its length at the moment.”
The same thing happened in 2017, he said, though not to the same extent.
“It’s unusual, and possibly getting to be more frequent.”
He said that a generation ago, several sections of the river were regularly used as swimming spots, but also added that low water levels had been a problem centuries ago.
“Mill owners in 1774 were complaining it had dried up on one occasion,” he said. “But we also have plenty of records of floods. The river couldn’t possibly sustain mills today.
Courtesy of independent.co.uk