Call of Nature - Case Study - Alt/CrossensCall of Nature

Project overview

Call of Nature is a campaign to prevent pollution in our rivers and watercourses caused by poorly maintained off mains sewage systems. The project is to address an issue recognised by several Rivers Trusts in the North West including the Lune, Wyre and Ribble Rivers Trusts as well as in the Mersey Rivers Trust, who jointly developed a toolkit. In November 2016, the Mersey Rivers Trust launched the campaign on the River Alt and its surrounding catchment. The main aim was to educate owners of septic tanks on the negative impacts they can have on water courses if not maintained properly and to improve water quality in the region.

Initial research

The first step of the project was to locate areas of poor water quality and identify the key communities that may be contributing to its decline. An engagement plan was then produced with ideas on activities and events that could attract the public.


The Mersey Rivers Trust held several events across the Alt/Crossens catchment to engage the public and educate them on water quality. This included stands at Martin Mere Wetland Centre and Mere Sands Wood where the Trust handed out information on septic tank maintenance, competitions and stickers. Social media was used to promote events and provide information on the project.

Water quality

Firstly, expert aquatic consultants, APEM Ltd, undertook a detailed survey to determine water quality before any engagement work had commenced, to locate the water quality issues. People attending local events joined the Mersey Rivers Trust 'River Guardians' programme, to become citizen scientists who will continue to monitor water quality to observe any changes over time. This will provide an indication of the success of the project and help to improve future projects.

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