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Citizen scientists declare SOS for The Wye

By Dilys Merry
19th June 2022

We were proud to gather on the banks of the Wye with over 130 citizen scientists from all along the catchment  last Sunday. Our message was clear and simple – SOS for the Wye. And our demand – urgent action to protect the river!

Our spokesperson said “We are putting out an SOS for the Wye. The Wye needs rescuing and the governments in Wales and England must act now. Every person visible in this SOS is a citizen scientist or volunteer directly involved with monitoring the river. People like us are doing the work that the environment agencies on both sides of the border should be doing.”

“This is an international symbol for requesting help. For the Wye, it’s also a plea to Save Our Soils. Soils are now the frontline in our battle to protect the Wye.”

Too much manure!

Numbers of intensive poultry units (IPUs) are booming in Herefordshire and Powys. The waste from these production sites is causing terrible damage to the river and its ecosystems. Tons of chicken manure from IPUs are spread on to fields surrounding the Wye and its tributaries. But these fields are already overloaded with nutrients. Then soil erosion from bare fields and nutrient seepage into the river feed algal blooms that take all the river’s oxygen. We can see habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity all along the length of the river.


Next month, the SaveTheWye campaign is coordinating WyeJuly, a series of events bringing together communities the length of the Wye to learn about the crisis from the groups that have taken on the monitoring of the river. At these events, local people will demand that the governments in Westminster and Cardiff take meaningful action to prevent further damage to the Wye and its tributaries. We will be at many of these events and are proud to host the first of these, Save the Lugg on 8th July.


Our human SOS on the banks of the Wye
More than 130 fabulous volunteers making their plea for the Wye Eamon Bourke