There are just 210 such chalk rivers to be found anywhere in the world and 160 of them are in England. Today, on first impressions, famed chalk streams like Itchen remain as beautiful as they were a century ago but these pristine environments are under grave threat and are in an “abysmal” state. Of 120 sites sampled in the census commissioned by Salmon and Trout Conservation UK, only 14 were found to be unimpacted by human activity.
Agricultural and road run off, poorly treated sewage and discharges from watercress and fish farms have caused a collapse in fly life. On the Itchen (which is designated a special area of conservation and site of special scientific interest), populations of the blue-winged olive fly have been decimated alongside the southern island blue and olive upright. So too, the freshwater shrimp upon which trout feed in the winter months.
Link (via The Telegraph)