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How to help your local river

Support the health of local rivers

How can I help?

If you do walk by a river fairly regularly, you can help keep it as healthy as possible by keeping an eye out for any of the following issues and reporting them to the correct organisation. Please try to include photographic evidence wherever possible:

  • FLOW/NO FLOW - If you notice changes in the flow of the river or it isn't moving at all.  This could signify an obstruction. Some obstructions are natural, others are man-made and specifically placed following restoration in order to change the flow of the river for its benefit, however some are accidental and can cause significant flood damage elsewhere. Any concerns regarding the flow of a river should be reported in the first instance to the Environment Agency Incident Report hotline: 0800 807060 (Freephone, 24 hr service and follow their advice.
  • POLLUTION – If you notice a change in the river which could signify pollution of any kind into the watercourse, such as silt, dead fish, litter, fly tipping, an unusual colour then you need to contact the Environment Agency (EA). Different organisations have different responsibilities with regards to the care of your local river, the Environment Agency will be able to advise you on who best to contact with respect to all types of pollution.  Contact the  Environment Agency Incident Report hotline: 0800 807060 (Freephone, 24 hr service)
  • NON-NATIVE SPECIES – Look out for specific non-native species on and around local rivers  such as:                       

Please report any you find on-line , again photos would help to verify the sighting. For further general information on non-native species see

  • WILDLIFE SPECIES/Flora/Fauna – If you spot any interesting wildlife NBIS - Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service are always very keen to hear about it, please report it here and include photos wherever possible.
  • FLOOD – report any flooding that is not usual for the area to the Environment Agency's Floodline on 0345 9881188 (24hr service)

How to get actively involved and events

There are many organisations involved in the care of local rivers and their surrounding areas, below are the main ones within the Norfolk Coast AONB and its outlying areas that offer differing degrees of volunteering, membership and events to enjoy:

  • River Glaven Conservation GroupThe River Glaven Conservation Group (RGCG) was formed in 1999 with the objective to protect the River Glaven from further degradation and restore important habitats for wildlife within the river corridor. They are an active group and do have volunteer activity days and events throughout the year. Contact here.
  • Gaywood Valley Conservation GroupThe Gaywood Valley Conservation Group are a group of enthusiastic volunteers who are interested in all aspects of wildlife and our aim is to provide and maintain the wildlife habitats in the Gaywood Valley area. The group have regular meetings and meet every Monday morning.
  • Norfolk Rivers Trust – The Norfolk Rivers Trust was set up in 2011 with the objective of restoring and conserving Norfolk's rivers and wetland habitats. The trust undertakes restoration work as funding allows and as such can provide occasional volunteer work and events. Contact here.
  • Norfolk Wildlife Trust - The Norfolk Wildlife Trust have eight separate local active member groups spread across Norfolk, each group meet informally throughout the year for talks, walks and social occasions. To find out more contact here.
  • Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service (NBIS) – NBIS is a Local Environmental Record Centre holding information on species, geodiversity, habitats and protected sites for the whole of the county of Norfolk.
  • Internal Drainage Board (IDB) – Norfolk Rivers Drainage Board carry out capital improvement works and regular maintenance of the drainage infrastructure that are vitally important services to help keep the area safe. The Environment Agency are in the process of devolving some of their responsibilities with regards to the on-going maintenance of some of Norfolk Rivers to the IDB.

For general conservation volunteering in Norfolk, please contact The Conservation Volunteers   

Why protect our rivers

River Glaven G Clark

River Glaven G Clark

There are only around 200 chalk rivers in the world. Around 160 of these are in Britain. Norfolk accounts for about 10% of the world's population of chalk rivers. Chalk rivers are incredibly important habitats for a range of species thanks to the clear calcium rich water and gravel beds where fish can lay their eggs. Small changes to land management, water quality, silt inundation, pollution, abstraction and the threat of non-native species can all change the special qualities of these rare habitats. It is therefore important that these rivers are safeguarded for the future.

Norfolk Coast Friends newsletter

If you would like to sign up to the Norfolk Coast Friends quarterly newsletter which gives you updates on what's happening in the area including our chalk rivers when applicable, together with events and useful information, e-mail: