The River Wye rises in the Plynlimon mountains in Wales and flows approximately 215 km in a broadly south-easterly direction to the Severn Estuary in England. Mean annual rainfall varies from 2450 mm in the upland north-west to 717 mm in the lowland east. The catchment (4017 km 2) is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), with a nationally significant rod fishery and a thriving regional tourist industry. Agriculture is the predominant land use with pastoral farming (sheep and beef) in the uplands, and intensive arable farming (cereals, potatoes, hops, poultry) on the fertile and highly productive soils in the lowlands. Poultry farming has expanded rapidly in the region and is a cause of stakeholder tensions. The reddish silty soils that dominate the catchment have low P buffering capacity and disperse easily during rainfall events leading to high rates of P loss. There are also high nitrate concentrations in the groundwater in the eastern lowlands and large quantities of water are taken for both public water supply and irrigation. Despite being part of the governments Catchment Sensitive Farming initiative, phosphorus is the major cause of failure to meet good ecological status under the WFD, sections of the river are classed as Eutrophic Sensitive Areas, and in 2020 an algal bloom extended for over 140 miles. Political tensions, planning moratoriums and different administrations spanning the Wales-England border make the catchment politically very high profile.  Stakeholder activity is coordinated through the Wye Catchment Partnership supported by the local rivers trust (Wye and Usk Foundation) along with additional citizen science monitoring projects.

  Wye with cities v3