Tweed Forum lands environmental prize

The Tweed Forum collected a finalists trophy in one of the world's most prestigious environmental awards '“ the Thiess International River Prize.

Thursday, 28th September 2017, 8:14 am
Updated Thursday, 28th September 2017, 1:19 pm
Luke Comins (centre) and Prof Chris Spray (right) from Tweed Forum with their finalists trophy, alongside Prof Bill Dennison from the judging panel.

One of four rivers to make it through to the final of the global competition, held in Australia, the River Tweed came a close second to the San Antonio River in Texas with its $384million improvement project.

The award is presented annually by the International River Foundation and previous winners include the Niagara, Rhine and Danube.

The Tweed had made it through to the final four in recognition of the unique partnership approach developed by the Tweed Forum in order to protect and conserve the natural, built and cultural heritage of the river and its 5,000 sq km catchment.

James Hepburne Scott, Tweed Forum chairman, said; “To be chosen as a finalist for this important global award is a monumental milestone in the history of Tweed Forum.

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“It is hugely rewarding that the forward-thinking blueprint for cooperative working developed by our organisation, and the results we have all achieved, has received this kind of recognition.

“We hope that all of the partners who share the same passion for this important river and work so hard to protect and conserve it, are justly proud of their efforts and encouraged to continue their excellent work.”

The Tweed Forum was represented at the event by director, Luke Comins and trustee, Professor Chris Spray.

Both men were invited to share their knowledge and experience with over 600 delegates in the field from across the globe at the 2017 International River Symposium, where the River Prize was announced.

The Tweed is one of the UK’s most productive salmon rivers and a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation under European legislation.

The work of the Tweed Forum’s partnership with farmers, foresters, landowners, ghillies and public and private sector bodies on both sides of the border has delivered significant benefits in river restoration, habitat management, improved water quality, the protection and enhancement of fish stocks, flood management and tourism and recreational opportunities.

This has been achieved through initiatives such as tree planting and woodland management, pond and wetland creation, the capture and storage of greenhouse gasses through peatland restoration and management, tackling invasive plant species, creating and upgrading cycleways and trails and restoring listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments.

The Tweed Forum also runs educational initiatives including school visits, field trips and talks, and works with statutory agencies and policy makers to improve legislation and shape policies to help manage land and water assets across the whole country. The organisation’s work led to UNESCO recognition in 2009, and the receipt of the first UK Rivers Prize in 2015.

Professor Bill Dennison, chair of the Thiess International River Prize jury said: “This year we received a record number of submissions, and the overall quality of the submissions has been higher than ever. The finalists represent a stellar selection of river management efforts from around the world.

“From the restoration efforts in the River Tweed in Scotland to the conservation efforts for the Nushagak and Kvichak Rivers in the remote Alaskan wilderness, to urban river restoration in the Pasig River in the Philippines and the San Antonio River in Texas, these different river stories are united by a common theme: excellence in river management.”