The South Essex rivers catchment
The catchment includes the Mardyke river and its multiple tributaries to the west of the catchment, together with a number of small Thames Estuary tributaries to the east. The total catchment area covers 140 miles (226 km2) in Essex.
The catchment area is mostly rural with some larger urban settlements along the Thames Estuary at Purfleet, Grays, Tilbury, Stanford-le-Hope and Pitsea. Low-lying land in the east is a patchwork of marshland, industrial and agricultural land.
The South Essex Catchment Partnership
The South Essex Catchment Partnership is a group of local stakeholders taking a Catchment Based Approach to improving the rivers of South Essex which join the River Thames between Grays and Canvey Island.
Our vision: to enhance, conserve and improve the health of the water environment in the South Essex catchment for the benefit of people and wildlife now and for future generations.
The catchment partnership was formed in 2012 and was solely hosted by Thames Chase Trust until April 2020. Now the partnership is co-hosted by Thames21 and Thames Chase Trust. It is one of several catchment partnerships hosted and co-hosted by Thames21.
How we work
The South Essex catchment partnership meets regularly to discuss the sustainable management of land and water in the catchment. We identify projects that will improve local water environments, benefit wildlife and boost the wellbeing of local communities. We:
- Manage flood risk through sustainable drainage systems, natural flood management and floodplain reconnection
- Improve habitat quality and connectivity through practical interventions such as river restoration and river enhancements
- Improve the way water is captured and managed within the catchment, to reduce nutrient levels and improve water quality
- Improve opportunities for recreation across the catchment and raise awareness to ensure blue-green space is valued and appreciated
- Work with land managers to ensure water-friendly farming practices
- Share information, skills and bring people together working catchment-wide with multiple organisations.
We have a number of partnership projects around the catchment, including a large-scale floodplain restoration on the Lower Mardyke, funded by the Land of the Fanns project and managed by Thames21. The partnership is also undertaking a multi-year project to manage invasive floating pennywort on the Lower Mardyke.
The South Essex catchment partnership is an inclusive network of organisations including local authorities, NGOs, water companies, local community groups and more. Key catchment partners are:
- Anglian Water
- Environment Agency
- Essex and Suffolk Water (Northumbrian Water Ltd)
- Essex County Council
- Essex Wildlife Trust
- The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) East
- Forestry England
- Land of the Fanns HLF Project
- Thames Chase Trust
- The Land Trust
- Thurrock Council