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Leaflet to assist landowners in watercourse management 28 April 2006

A new leaflet has just been published jointly by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Department of Transport to assist landowners in watercourse management.

The leaflet is based on a code of good practice for protecting water quality, and for bank and vegetation management to ensure continued good drainage and appropriate regard for fish and other wildlife.

Landowners whose property either adjoins a watercourse or has a watercourse running through it have certain obligations, such as not to block or pollute the flow or undertake works which would damage the ecology or physical properties of a river bed.

The leaflet shows a map of the main rivers on the Island for which the Department of Transport Drainage Division is responsible. Elsewhere, other than on these stretches of strategic importance, landowners of property adjoining watercourses or through which watercourses run have responsibility for their management.

The leaflet draws attention to the requirements, gives advice on how best to manage the watercourse and its immediate area, and provides contact details for further information.

Other topics covered in the leaflet include –

Japanese knotweed control;
preventing disturbance of breeding birds or roosting bats;
avoiding damage to trout spawning beds; and
use of native trees and wildflowers for landscaping.

Writing and promoting this code was one of the tasks agreed by Government’s cross-Departmental Flooding Working Group set up in the wake of the Sulby flooding in 1998 and 2000.

Sections of the Island’s main rivers are designated under the Land Drainage Act 1934. The Department of Transport is responsible for ensuring that these rivers continue to drain the land effectively.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has responsibilities for inland fisheries under the Inland Fisheries Act 1976. It is also responsible for wildlife and conservation issues connected with the plants and animals associated with our streams and dubs and the habitats that they provide, largely under the Wildlife Act 1990.

The Department of Local Government and the Environment maintains a monitoring programme on the condition of the Island’s watercourses, and is responsible for investigating pollution and other incidents and factors which may affect them under the Water Pollution Act 1993.

The River Management Project Officer, Dr Karen Galtress, will be promoting best practice as outlined in the leaflet and in the Code. Dr Galtress can be contacted on 450736.

For further information, please contact –

Malcolm Cowin, Land Drainage Engineer, Drainage Division, Department of Transport: 693512;
Karen McHarg, Inland Fisheries Development Manager, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: 686044;
Liz Charter, Chief Wildlife and Conservation Officer, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: 843109; or
Dr Phil Styles, Environmental Protection Officer (Water), Department of Local Government and the Environment: 685885.

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