Working Groups

There are a number of Working Groups underpinning the work of the National Steering Group and National Support Team, who each focus on a particular issue, such as Data and Evidence, Urban Water Management, Agriculture and Abstraction.

Currently, we have the following active Working Groups:

  • Catchment Data User Group
  • Urban Water Group
  • Biodiversity Working Group
  • Benefits Working Group
  • Abstraction Working Group
  • Agriculture Working Group
  • Flood Working Group
  • Estuaries and Coasts Working Group
  • Chalk Streams Restoration Group

If you would like to join one of our working groups, please get in touch.

Find out what our working groups are all about below:

Catchment Data User Group

The Catchment Data User Group (CDUG) plays a critical role in providing ‘open’ data, information and evidence to catchment partnerships nationwide, enabling them to determine priorities for action, identify cost-effective interventions and develop robust high-quality catchment plans.

In addition to the release of a range of support tools, CDUG has distributed the CaBA data package, encompassing more than 150 GIS data layers, to all partnerships, and has published many of these as online Open Data services for use in web GIS. The work of CDUG is closely aligned to that of the mentoring (capacity building) team.

The Catchment Data & Evidence FORUM is an annual event that aims to bring together the widest possible community of practitioners and identify the key barriers and opportunities that CDUG should focus on.

Urban Water Group

The CaBA Urban Water Group (CUWG) champions a collaborative, partnership approach to urban water management, engaging and raising awareness across a range of key stakeholders to drive improvements to water quality and biodiversity, reduce flood risk, enhance health and well-being and build community cohesion.

The CUWG supports CaBA partnerships nationwide by helping them to build capacity and expertise and to engage more effectively with key stakeholders, including local authorities, communities, businesses and developers, on urban water management issues, driving collaborative delivery on the ground. CUWG is helping to drive the delivery of urban water management under the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan, including through the promotion of green-blue infrastructure and the multiple benefits that can be realised.

The group is chaired by Peter Bide (formerly of DGLC) with a membership encompassing Environmental NGOs (Rivers Trusts, Groundwork, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust), Environment Agency, Natural England, Local Government and CIRIA.

The group frequently runs workshops to bring together key players in the urban water management sector to explain the multiple benefits of an integrated and collaborative approach to urban water management and showcase examples of its successful implementation.  The CUWG also works closely with the Local Action Project that seeks to enhance the natural capital in our towns and cities to improve people’s lives, the environment and economic prosperity.

In addition to producing guidance championing collaborative Urban Water Management, CUWG has also supported the production of the Lewisham Council led guidance note for planners and contributed to the University of Cambridge ‘Planning Advice for Integrated Water Management’ authored by Peter Bide. Additionally, the group has supported the publication of a guide for catchment partnerships seeking funding for urban delivery projects.

The Urban Working Group includes representatives from the Environment Agency, Thames21, Thames Water, Imperial Collage, The Rivers Trust, South East Rivers Trust, Northumbrian Rivers Trust, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Somerset County Council, Westcountry Rivers Trust, Mersey Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, CIRIA, Peterborough City Council, PCEU Consultants, Groundwork, Canal and River Trust, and Natural England.

Peter Bide

Peter Bide, Urban Working Group Chair

Peter is a Chartered Geologist and a Chartered Engineer specialising in integrated water management and flood risk management planning, currently working on a project for CIRIA on delivering successful integrated water management through the planning system.

Contact Peter

Biodiversity Working Group

The CaBA Biodiversity Group supports catchment partnerships in their delivery of water and wetland biodiversity projects.

It aims to:

Develop and communicate advice and information on biodiversity recovery to support catchment partnerships.

  • Ensure Catchment Partnerships can access & utilise biodiversity data to inform and prioritise their activities.
  • Highlight opportunities for delivery against River Basin Plan and 25 year plan targets through the Catchment Based Approach
  • Understand the barriers faced, and showcase the good practice work that Catchment Partnerships deliver.
  • Share expertise, and advise on technical and policy issues that influence management of water & wetlands in catchments.

The group includes representatives from Natural England, Wildlife Trusts, Wildfowl & Wetland Trust, National Trust, Floodplain Meadows Partnership, Environment Agency, Defra, RSPB, Freshwater Habitats Trust, National Parks ( led by Broads Authority) and The Rivers Trust.

The group is chaired by Glen Cooper from Natural England.

Glen Cooper, Biodiversity Working Group, secretary and deputy chair

Glen is a Senior Adviser and Lake Restoration Programme Manager for Natural England. He has worked across the freshwater and coastal agenda at local and national level and has always been fascinated by ecology, especially of aquatic systems. Glen is secretary and chair of the Biodiversity Working Group.

Benefits Working Group

The Benefits Working Group provides Catchment Partnerships with guidance, resources and skills for the monitoring, evaluation and reporting of their performance, outputs and delivery outcomes, particularly with respect to the wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits realised through collaborative working – Robust monitoring and evaluation is critical to the long-term success and sustainability of CaBA.

The group has designed a reporting template to capture evaluation and benefits realised for each partnership nationwide. This issued to determine the direction of travel of CaBA nationwide, identify capacity building and training needs and champion the initiate to a wide range of key stakeholders.

The group is also working to a longer-term nationally agreed framework for valuing/evaluating/reporting multiple benefits for a Natural Capital approach with the goal of providing a framework, methods and guidance that is bespoke for CaBA partnerships.

Abstraction Working Group

The Abstraction (Water Resources) Working Group was established to ensure that catchment partnerships are supported to integrate water resources management into a wider programme of integrated catchment planning and delivery.

The working group has a particular aim of supporting the implementation of the Defra/EA Abstraction Plan that includes a commitment to a stronger catchment focus on abstraction management. The group is supporting the testing of new management approaches in some initial priority catchments but will be looking to broaden the impact and knowledge of the group’s activities across all catchments in England.

The Group is co-chaired  Barry Bendall (RT) and John Poole.

Barry Bendall

Barry Bendall, Abstraction Working Group Co-chair

Director of Operations Director, The Rivers Trust

Barry joined The Rivers Trust in 2011 after previously working as a fish biologist. Barry works across all areas of catchment management, with an increasing focus on the integration of water resources management into wider catchment management. Barry is co-chair of the CaBA Water Resources (Abstraction) Working Group.

Agriculture Working Group

The Agriculture Working Group champions and demonstrates the role of catchment partnerships in the development and delivery of agricultural land management that benefits both the environment and farm business.  This includes a focus upon approaches that realise multiple benefits, for example, with respect to water quality, flood risk, air quality and biodiversity.

The Group also provides for knowledge exchange, disseminating best and innovative practice across CaBA including Defra and the industry, and sharing developments in agricultural policy (e.g. Farming Rules for Water) with catchment partnerships.

The Group is chaired by Chris Ryder  and Alex Inman

Flood Working Group

CaBA Flood Working Group (FWG) brings the NSG and other organisations together that are interested in inclusive, integrated catchment approaches to flood risk management.

This group’s focus is developing capacity and helping Catchment Partnerships’ (CPs) work to reduce flood risk, including using Natural Flood Management (NFM), land management and Working with Natural Processes (WWNP) as part of the wider FRM toolkit.

The group aims to work together to conserve, manage and improve our natural environment, maximise catchment partnerships contribution to flood risk management, and build capacity for communities, local authorities and catchment partnerships to implement successful natural flood management.

The group is made up of representatives from Rivers Trusts, NFU, Anglian Water, Natural Flood Forum, Wildlife Trusts, Capita Black & Veatch, Buckingham County Council, Natural England, Forestry Commission, Leeds University and Environment Agency.

Estuaries and Coasts Working Group

The CaBA estuaries and coasts working group aims to build knowledge and expertise with respect to these critical ‘downstream’ environments that provide the interface between land and sea. It also supports greater collaboration between CaBA and Coastal partnerships to help embed a more holistic approach and one that engages a wider range of stakeholders. The group has supported the development of the Coastal and Estuarine Data Package and Explorer that provides access to a national evidence base.

It has also developed a Policy and Legislation Storymap.

The Group is chaired by Amy Pryor, Chair of the Coastal Partnerships Network.

Chalk Streams Restoration Group

The CaBA Chalk Streams Working Group is a subgroup of the CaBA National Support Group. It brings together organisations with an interest in chalk stream management, including regulators, water industry representatives and eNGOs, recognising that protection of chalk streams requires everyone to play their part.

The aim of the group is to develop a chalk streams management and restoration strategy for England and to ensure actions are in place to drive improvements in the short, medium and long term.  We will consider water quantity, water quality and habitat restoration, but the plan will deliver an integrated catchment approach to chalk stream management.

We will be collaborative in approach and consult widely to ensure that everyone with an interest in chalk streams is able to influence the strategy.

We aim to raise the profile and importance of chalk streams to influence policymaking at a national level and encourage support and local action at a catchment level.

The group is made up of representatives from the Environment Agency, Natural England, Ofwat, Water UK, WWF, Angling Trust, Salmon and Trout Conservation, The Rivers Trust, Wild Trout Trust and Wildlife Trusts.

The Group is chaired by Charles Rangeley-Wilson.

Charles Rangeley-Wilson, Chalk Streams Restoration Group Chair

Charles is an author, broadcaster, and conservationist with a particular interest in chalk-streams.

Charles became interested in river restoration in the early 1990s when he was working as a teacher in Dorset. Together with the pupils at his school he revived a dilapidated midstream and reintroduced trout and grayling to a reach of the River Stour from which they had been missing for twenty years or more. In 1997 he set up and ran the formative version of the Wild Trout Trust establishing the Advisory Visits and Conservation Awards before the Trust employed its first full-time director. He has worked on campaigns with WWF including Rivers on the Edge and Flushed Away and the 2014 State of England’s Chalk Streams Report. In 2011 he set up the Norfolk Rivers Trust and since then has been managing a catchment scale restoration programme on the River Nar in Norfolk.

Charles is the author of four non-fiction books: two anthologies of travel and fishing, a psycho-geographic history of an industrialised chalk stream in the Chilterns (Silt Road), and most recently a cultural history of Britain through the stories of five iconic species of fish (Silver Shoals).

He has made films with the BBC about fish, fishing, travel and culture and has written numerous articles for The Field, Country Life, the Telegraph, the Times and other publications.

He is currently a Vice President of The Wild Trout Trust and a proud Ambassador for The Angling Trust and the Wye and Usk Foundation as well as chair of the CaBA Chalk Stream Restoration Group and vice-chair of the Water Resources South East Environmental Sub-Committee.

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