On this World Rivers Day, Abergavenny Town Council and Welsh Rivers Union join forces to raise awareness about the pressing challenges faced by the River Usk, affectionately known in Welsh as Afon Wysg. Councillor Tony Konieczny and Kim Waters, representing the Welsh Rivers Union, came together to shed light on the critical issues affecting this vital natural resource.
Councillor Tony Konieczny began by emphasising the significance of World Rivers Day in drawing attention to the plight of the River Usk. He pointed out that the River Usk is currently grappling with alarmingly high levels of phosphate pollution, primarily stemming from agricultural and sewage sources, putting it on the verge of ecological collapse.
Kim Waters, speaking on behalf of the Welsh Rivers Union, expressed concern over the state of the River Usk, noting that despite existing conservation and environmental protections, regulators have not effectively addressed pollution issues, leading to severe ecological damage.
The River Usk is more than just a river; it holds the status of a Designated Special Area of Conservation, serving as a sanctuary for a wide range of unique habitats and species.
Kim also highlighted the rich biodiversity and ecological importance of the River Usk, which includes tidal rivers, estuaries, mud flats, salt marshes, and inland water bodies.
Notably, the River Usk boasts the highest tidal range of any city river globally, with a staggering 14.5-meter difference between low and high tide. This tidal variation plays a crucial role in supporting numerous bird species, as vast mudflats exposed during low tide serve as essential feeding grounds for waders and ducks such as shelduck, curlews, dunlin, knot, and lapwings.
Both urged the community to come together on this World Rivers Day and make a steadfast commitment to protect and restore the River Usk. They stressed that the River Usk is not merely a body of water but a lifeline for the local ecosystem, a haven for unique species, and a source of immense pride for the community.
In conclusion, we urge individuals to get involved with groups like Save the River Usk, taking proactive steps, advocating for change, and ensuring that future generations can continue to marvel at the wonders of the River Usk. Together, it is believed that the community can make a significant difference and ensure that the River Usk remains a symbol of natural beauty and biodiversity for all.
We also want to express our gratitude to everyone who joined in marking this World Rivers Day and invited all to work hand in hand to protect the River Usk, emphasising that united efforts can secure the river’s legacy as a beacon of natural wonder for generations to come.