Back in the autumn of 2018 I was asked by a fellow recordist at a Wildlife Sound Recording Society meeting whether I would be interested in becoming a river champion for the River Rib, a chalk river in North-East Hertfordshire that we have had the privilege of living close to for the last 25 years.
Through our conversation I learnt that the Rib was one of seven chalk rivers and streams in Hertfordshire (and only 200 in the world) and that all of them were in trouble. Bob put me in touch with the Sarah Perry, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust Living Rivers Officer and after a series of meetings through the winter Denise and I took on the challenge, along with Sarah and Phil Buckingham, another concerned local resident, of raising the river’s local profile and awareness of the issues affecting it’s future.
Our first event was a stall at Standon’s May Day on which we were able to show live invertebrate specimens collected from the river as well as talk to visitors about the river and its importance as a chalk stream environment. Public meetings have followed (as well as a debate in the House of Commons during which our group and others were mentioned) and the level of interest and support from up and down the valley has grown to such an extent that we can now consider taking on a formal structure and begin the real work of conserving and improving the River Rib.For more information about Friends of the River Rib and the issues facing chalk streams in Hertfordshire and across southern England visit our website https://friendsoftherib.wordpress.com