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Due to extensive modifications during the construction of the Watford Link Road in 1990, the River Colne is now more similar to a canal than a traditional river. These modifications severely reduced habitat diversity of the Colne, resulting in degraded conditions for fish, invertebrates and other wildlife. The situation has been worsened by a limited management regime, increased pollution and the introduction of non-native invasive species.

Such non-native invasive species include Japanese Knotweed, which are present along the river corridor in Watford, dominating the area and preventing other species from thriving. These problem areas are already being controlled by contractors on behalf of Watford Borough Council and Affinity Water, alongside great efforts from local stakeholder groups like Community Interest Company and Watford Green Gym.

Water quality is another major issue in the waterways of Watford, with pollutants such as sewage, plastic, road run-off, and litter and other chemicals entering the river through misconnections, among others. To address this, and crucial to the success of this program, a water quality group comprising WBC, Environment Agency (EA) and the local water companies facilitated by Groundwork has been established. This water quality group runs alongside the river improvement work stream within the Rediscovering the River Colne Programme, and works across organisations to investigate, monitor and find solutions to the water quality issue.

The river improvement proposals address the issues experienced within the channel that are resulting in poor habitat quality and functioning. The improvements proposed at each site can be found on the main page.

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