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What's Happened Since the SusSH Rivers Assembly?


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June 28, 2023

The Sustainable South Hams Rivers Assembly this March was a fantastic opportunity for making new connections and sparking new projects. Find out a bit more about some of the outcomes from the Assembly in the two months since.

A well-attended section of the Assembly offered a chance for interested parties to gather and discuss their own river catchments. With the inspiration of the Yealm Estuary to Moor Partnership (YEM), both the Avon and Erme river catchment have begun to work out how best to coordinate and collaborate along their rivers, from moor to sea.

At a recent sold-out gathering for the Erme, more than 90 volunteers considered ways they could contribute to cleaning up their river. A key outcome was that a group of talented volunteers were recruited to form the WATER (Wild About The Erme River) coordination team. The scale of enthusiasm, energy and skill offered by all attendees was testament to the huge appetite for catchment-wide action. For more information about this project, please contact

One of the most popular sessions at the Assembly looked at Infrastructure & Regulation. Martin Fodder introduced the concept of Shadow Scrutiny to look at what SWW is doing and planning to do in relation to drainage and sewage. Since this discussion, Martin and several others have met to form a group to start this work and have begun by visiting Totnes Waste Water Treatment Works. They will report on their progress in due course.

The newly-created South Devon River Champions website, developed following the Assembly, is now a wonderful directory of many of the projects taking place in, on and around the rivers of the region. The network aims to facilitate greater cooperation between community groups in each catchment.  Take a look at the website (and subscribe to South Devon River Watch monthly update) here, and email for more information.

The team at SusSH is also working with West Country Rivers Trust to provide kits and training for Citizen Science Testing and we’re looking to offer a range of field trips to help groups copy projects more easily. We have several grant applications in progress in order to facilitate these plans.

We’re excited to see so much activity taking place so quickly, and look forward to seeing what develops next!

Below is the SusSH Rivers Project Concept, which has continued to develop from the Rivers Assembly: