Llyn Brianne Observatory, Tywi, Wales
The Llyn Brianne Stream Observatory Network, in central Wales, has collected data for over 30 years on 14 upland streams and their plants and animals. This has provided much-needed evidence about how best to manage upland streams, together with their surrounding banks and landscapes, to protect the critical resources they provide. Recent funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation will keep this observatory running while disseminating its messages more widely.
Few ecosystems supply more important goods and services than streams and rivers, but they are undervalued. Many are still recovering from past problems such as acid rain, pollution and land drainage, while current issues include water abstraction, waste disposal, hydropower generation, fertilizer run-off from land, and other aspects of global change. Ensuring that rivers and streams can deliver vital services without damage to their wildlife requires improved understanding of how river ecosystem services are generated, and how they can be protected.
The Llyn Brianne Stream Observatory, and the unique story it tells about how to meet the challenges affecting British streams and rivers, is now not only secured, but will also be consolidated and augmented over the next 5 years. It will thus continue to provide data and guidance for the researchers, land managers, environmental charities, statutory organisations and communities that strive to use the UK’s natural assets in ways that will help to support a sustainable future. A dedicated website will soon provide a data portal access to research at the Observatory.