The Tweed Forum has been shortlisted for an international river prize for its outstanding achievements in river restoration and protection management.
The Thiess International River Prize is presented each year by the International River Foundation, with the winner awarded 200,000 Australian dollars in prize money.
The Tweed is up against three other strong contenders – the San Antonio River in Texas, US, the Nushagak and Kvichak Rivers in Alaska, USA and the Pasig River in the Philippines. Previous winners include the River Niagara, the Rhine and the Danube.
The 2017 winner will be announced at the International Riversymposium in Brisbane, Australia in September, and representatives of each of the four finalists will travel to the event to share their knowledge and experience with others in the field from across the globe.
Protecting and conserving the natural, built and cultural heritage of the Tweed, the forum has a hands-on, co-operative approach to managing the 5,000sq km of the Tweed’s catchment, which straddles the Scotland-England border.
The river is one of the UK’s most productive salmon rivers and is a designated site of special scientific interest and a special area of conservation under European legislation.
The forum’s work – 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. That work has led to UNESCO recognition in 2009,and the receipt of the first UK Rivers Prize in 2015.
Luke Comins, director of the forum, said: “It is extremely rewarding to have the contribution of all those working to conserve and enhance the Tweed recognised on an international stage.
“The River Tweed is one of the UK’s most precious assets, and we have developed a collaborative approach that is delivering significant benefits for the landscape and the people who live and work within the catchment of the river and its tributaries.
“We’re greatly looking forward to sharing our experiences and knowledge on delivering a sustainable future for the river and its environs with delegates at the International Riversymposium and are, of course, hoping that we can bring this prestigious award back with us to the UK.”
If successful, the Tweed Forum would use the money to employ an education officer for its education outreach programmes and would also explore the development of an apprentice scheme to encourage best practice in integrated catchment management elsewhere in the country.