Rivers Conference


The Conservation and Management of Rivers
20 Years On

International conference at the University of York, UK
6–9 September 2010



In September 1990 the Nature Conservancy Council organised an international conference on ‘The Conservation and Management of Rivers’. The conference was truly international, attracting 337 delegates from 29 countries. 


By September 2010, 20 years had elapsed since the York conference, and a huge amount had changed in the world – economically, politically, culturally, scientifically. The 2010 conference looked back over the 20-year period and assessed the changes in river conservation – how the environment, the legislation and policies that drive conservation, the organisations, the techniques for practising river conservation, and public attitudes have all changed.  What predictions did we make in 1990? Which have been proved accurate and which have not? Where have we succeeded and where have we failed? The 2010 conference provided an opportunity both to share experience, and to use the lessons of the past to look 20 years on into the future.



The conference, sponsored by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural England, brought together all those with an interest in achieving greater integration of conservation within the management of river systems. It provided a forum for scientists, policy makers, water resource managers, engineers and nature conservationists to:

  • discuss the theory and practice of river conservation
  • describe progress in different parts of the world
  • define appropriate strategies for the future

The emphasis of the conference was on habitat and wildlife conservation but was set within the wider context of water management. The meeting had a broad, international perspective, and reflected the range of priorities within and between countries in the developed and developing world.


Organising Group

Professor Philip Boon (Scottish Natural Heritage) (Group chair)

Dr Nigel Holmes (Alconbury Environmental Consultants)

Chris Mainstone (Natural England)

Professor Peter Maitland (Fish Conservation Centre)

Vicky Morgan (Joint Nature Conservation Committee)

Professor Malcolm Newson (Tyne Rivers Trust)

Dr Roger Owen (Scottish Environment Protection Agency)

Professor Howard Platt (Northern Ireland Environment Agency)

Dr Paul Raven (Environment Agency)

Professor Chris Spray (University of Dundee)


Conference papers

A selection of papers from the conference was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2012 in an edited book (Boon, P.J. & Raven, P.J. (eds). 2012. River Conservation and Management. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell), as a sequel to River Conservation and Management (Boon et al, 1992) derived from the York conference in 1990.


Image of Countryside Council for Wales logo Welsh Assemby Environment Agency logo Natural England logo
Northern Ireland Environment Agency An Agency within the Department of Environment Scottish Environment Protection Agency SNH logo