What we do

Tress planted
Bin bags filled
Volunteer hours
Figures from 2018 & 2019

Natural Flood Management


Click on the arrows to learn more...

Leaky Dams

Leaky woody dams use natural materials to create a barrier to water. Willow and other types of wood block up channels to trap sediment and slow the flow of water downstream. By holding the water up, it gives trees and other vegetation time to take up the water and nutrients which will reduce flooding downstream and improve water quality.

Mersey Rivers Trust staff and volunteers are installing leaky dams across the Mersey Basin including channels flowing into Rivacre Brook and Black Brook.

Leaky dam rivacre 2 opt

Leaky dam rivacre opt


Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are techniques used to reduce flooding and improve water quality in urban areas. There are various ways this can be achieved including reducing the amount of water entering the urban environment, capturing and storing the water, creating more green space to allow infiltration or slowing the flow.

A successful SuDS scheme will mirror that of a natural environment, helping to reduce flooding, improve water quality, create habitats and increase biodiversity whilst having no long term adverse effects.

Tree planting

Tress provide many benefits to rivers and the wildlife within. They help to:

  • reduce flooding by taking up water from the soil allowing more infiltration and less overland flow
  • improve water quality by removing pollutants
  • stabilise river banks to reduce sediment input
  • create habitats and natural leaky dams when fallen into the river
  • fallen leaves provide nutrients for birds and fish.




pipe diagram optIf your plumbing is not properly connected, dirty water could flow into your local stream or river.

This is called a misconnection.

Misconnections can cause water pollution and happen when houses are built, when they are extended or when new appliances are plumbed in.

The Mersey Rivers Trust engage with the public to raise awareness of the impacts of misconnections on rivers, people and wildlife. We have created a misconnections leaflet to hand out at events for people to take home and check their own plumbing.

You can find out more about misconnections here including Mersey Rivers Trust case studies.

Call of Nature


Call of Nature is the campaign to prevent pollution in our rivers and watercourses caused by poorly maintained off mains sewage systems.

It may not be glamorous, but if we don’t look after our septic tanks, cesspits and package sewage treatment plants, they’ll start to fail. This means they’ll start to smell, spread disease to humans and animals, pollute our local rivers and seas.

The Mersey Rivers Trust use materials produced by the Morcambe Bay Partnership to raise awareness of poor septic tank maintenance. This includes fact sheets on types of package sewage systems, how to keep them maintained and signs they are failing.


Click here to learn more about the Mersey Rivers Trust's Call of Nature projects.



Fish pass/Weir removal

Human infrastructure such as dams and weirs provide a barrier to fish and reduce their migration upstream. Fish passes provide a shallow, alternative route for fish either alongside the weir or a separate channel diverting away from the main river.

An alternative option is to remove the weir. This is often the favoured option however not always possible, particularly if the weir is used for harnessing hydro-electric power.

Fish migration is part of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and indicates the ecological status of a watercourse. The Mersey Rivers Trust are undertaking a Fisheries Action Plan to allow free migration of fish and allow the return of salmon to the Mersey.


Electrofishing is a method used to survey fish abundance and species. An electrical current is sent into the water to attract and stun the fish to allow them to be removed easily from the water. This method is completely harmless with the fish returning to their normal state within a few minutes.

Wildlife surveys

ImageWith the help of our River Guardian volunteers, we survey a variety of animals:

  • Water voles
  • Invertebrates (kick sampling)
  • Fish
  • Birds

Changes in their abundance or the presence of new species can indicate water quality issues or improvements.



Mersey Basin Campaign | Resources

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