Catchment Plan


To achieve our goal to bring people together, for clean water and a healthy environment, for the benefit of everyone, we have developed the following vision for South Devon…

Where we work

The Partnership covers the rivers, streams, lakes, estuaries and coast surrounding catchments of the Yealm, Erme, Avon, Salcombe-Kingsbridge, Dart and Teign.

How we work

The Catchment Based Approach

The South Devon Catchments Partnership (SDCP) is part of the national Catchment Based Approach movement (CaBA). CaBA is a community-led approach that engages people and groups from across society to help improve our water environments. CaBA Partnerships are now active in over 100 catchments across England and Wales.


The South Devon Catchments Partnership works to bring together local people, organisations and businesses from across South Devon. Our aim is to work collaboratively to improve the quality of our rivers, estuaries and their catchments, for people and for wildlife, and to bring people closer to nature.

The primary driver for the Catchment Based Approach is the need for the UK to meet its water quality obligations under the Water Framework Directive. However, the partnership also embraces the whole range of benefits derived from the river catchments including:

  • Drinking water
  • Wildlife habitats
  • Flood management
  • Biosecurity
  • Recreation
  • Culture & heritage
  • Food production
  • Health & well-being
Hosting & Core Group

The South Devon Catchments Partnership is hosted jointly by the South Devon AONB and Westcountry Rivers Trust.

The partnership has a ‘core group’ who hold regular meetings to provide a joined-up steer for the partnership. We would like to increase the membership of this core group, so please contact us if you would like to have a role in this group.

The secretariat for the partnership is Rosie, please email with any questions and to get involved.

Partnership Communication

The partnership typically holds one to two whole partnership meetings per year. We also hold ad hoc specialist meetings on a specific theme, topic or project.

In 2020, we are trialling regular telecons to keep the work programme up-to-date. All partners are invited to dial-in to these telecons with project ideas and to update on projects in progress or under development. See ‘Project Programme’ below for more information.

Regular emails are sent out to update partners with the work of the Partnership, and to invite partners to meetings and events. The partnership has a website ( which has news, resources, and information about the partnership.

Project Programme

We have a project programme spreadsheet which is reviewed and updated via telecon. These telecons are open to all partners with a project they would like to develop in the South Devon area.

The aim of these telecons is for the partnership to have a package of great projects from across the region and led by a variety of people and organisations, either in progress or ready for further development when an opportunity arises.

Contact for the details on how to dial-in.

Data & Evidence

In 2015, stakeholders and technical specialists came together to undertake a review of all the natural assets we have in South Devon, the benefits they provide us with, and the opportunities to improve or maximise these benefits. You can see the maps and read the review here.

Action Plan

The SDCP works across the 4 key themes highlighted in our vision: water quality, species & habitats, value to people, and water quantity.

Under each of these themes there are several key issues, each of which is split into actions. The references in this plan are used in the SDCP Project Programme.

Water Quality
Pollution from single points or locations (point source pollution)

1. Reduce impact of homes on water quality

2. Reduce impact of business & industry on water quality

3. Improve regulation & development planning for water quality

4. Reduce road run-off pollution

5. Reduce pollution from boats in estuaries

6. Reduce litter and plastic pollution

Pollution from wider areas (diffuse pollution)

7. Understand and reduce the causes and impacts of high nutrient levels, bacterial quality issues and algal blooms

8. Tackle diffuse pollution from rural sources (agriculture & forestry)

9. Reduce pollution from landfill, quarry and mine waste

Species & Habitats
Falling fish populations

10. Monitor fish populations

11. Restore riverine habitats and fish passage

12. Improve regulation & planning for fish populations

Habitat loss, degradation & fragmentation

13. Improve regulation & planning for biodiversity

14. Monitor & share species/habitat data

15. Improve habitat management

16. Tackle causes of losses of wildlife

17. Ensure wildlife can adapt to climate change

Invasive non-native species

18. Monitor INNS

19. Prevent and control INNS

Value to People
Recreational access to sensitive environments

20. Raise awareness and community engagement

21. Improve regulation and control of recreation and access

22. Manage access via public rights of way

23. Preserve historic landscapes

Commercial impact on sensitive environments

24. Work with businesses to reduce environmental pressures

25. Manage seasonal population increases

Population Growth & Development

26. Develop local food industry 

Water Quantity
Catchment Water Retention

27. Improve land management for water quantity


28. Increase community engagement & awareness of water usage

29. Monitor abstractions & low flows

30. Improve regulation & enforcement of abstractions


31. Reduce impact of reservoirs on fisheries

32. Assess and remove impoundments and barriers relating to reservoirs


33. Improve planning & development for flooding

34. Implement habitat management/natural flood management

Climate Change

35. Monitoring & assessment of the impacts of climate change

36. Management of impacts of climate change

Project Programme

We have a project programme spreadsheet which is reviewed and updated via telecon. Some of these projects are being developed for a specific funding stream, while others are being recorded and developed to be ‘shovel-ready’ for an appropriate funding opportunity.

These telecons are open to all partners with a project they would like to develop in the South Devon area.

Contact for the details on how to dial-in.


We are developing a joined up record of all the monitoring being undertaken by partners across the South Devon catchments, led by Simon at WRT. If you are undertaking monitoring activities in the SDCP area, please make sure your activities are recorded on the plan.

Contact for more information.