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A CaBA catchment plan will establish a strong framework for collaborative working to deliver integrated catchment management, and will develop as the catchment partnership grows and becomes sustainable. Integrated catchment management can provide multiple benefits for all the partner organisations and the local community, including reducing flood risk whilst also cleaning up pollution, protecting drinking water resources, improving biodiversity and improving the health and recreation for local communities.  Planning integrated, collaborative actions will be more cost-beneficial than projects tackling single issues, as the partners can share the cost burden, whilst still meeting their own objectives.  
An integrated catchment plan, based on the principle of adaptive management, will help the partners to agree on the best course of action to realise these benefits, and usually consists of four key components:

Adaptive Management Interactive Diagram

Collaborative working1. Catchment Vision and Terms of Reference to underpin collaborative ways of working;
2. Data and Evidence to underpin a weight of evidence approach;
3. Delivery or Project Plan to set out detailed actions;
4. Monitoring and Evaluation Plan to assess outcomes and underpin adaptive management.


These pages provide a framework and resources to support CaBA partnerships in developing and implementing their catchment plan. Catchment management is an iterative, adaptive management process. As a consequence, this framework will evolve and develop overtime.

Browse the tabs below to navigate the sections and find links to resources, case studies and templates.  You can also download the guidance manual as a PDF. If you have something to add please contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or post on the CaBA Forum HERE. We would love to hear from you.  

You can share your catchment planning progress and publish your catchment plans on your own local catchment pages on the CaBA website. Catchment hosts can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a reminder of how to edit the local pages. 


FrameworkThe CaBA Support Team have produced a guidance manual to support the development of a CaBA Catchment Plan, that is based on emerging good practice from across the CaBA community. The guide is structured around the four key components of a CaBA plan. Partnerships whose plans incorporate these elements appear better able to build confidence with external stakeholders and leverage funds from a diverse range of sources. 

The framework describes each element and provides case studies or templates that can be adapted as appropriate to suit your catchment. These plans should be viewed as 'work in progress' (as is this framework!) with each element added and improved as required. We have identified three levels of partnership development, 'Initial' , 'Growing' and 'Sustainable' to capture the fact that some case studies and templates may not be appropriate yet for your catchment. Every partnership is different, some will not need all the components of a plan which are described in this framework; each component is only needed if it will increase delivery within a catchment.




We've also created a catchment plan template, drawn from a range of existing plans, which you can use as a starting point, or you can copy the text for using in your own plans.  It contains a basic structure, some standard text and annexes with links to key resources.

Browse the other tabs for information and resources to help you develop each component of your CaBA plan.




See a summary of feedback from the catchment planning workshops including queries and responses from the tech support team



Frequency: Refresh every five years (or more frequently if significant changes in local circumstances occur such as changes in membership).
Length: One to five pages. Published as a hand out and/or online.
Objective: Establishing the partnerships objectives, role, responsibilities and credibility.

An empowered, collaborative catchment partnership with a shared vision can be responsible for coordinating the planning, funding and delivery of good environmental, social and economic health for that river and its catchment. For more case studies and examples of collaborative ways of working visit our Tools and Case Studies: Engage section HERE.

VISION (initial)

Developing your catchment vision together is often the first step in building a collaborative partnership. The vision is local and reflects local values, it should help to articulate why people should be involved in the partnership and strengthen your local community support. This leads to the identification of a small number of shared goals which capture in plain English what the CaBA partnership wants to achieve, and can help to overcome language or 'jargon' barriers between organisations with different cultures and terminology. Below are some examples of catchment visions which have been developed by CaBA partnerships around the country.

Wandle Vision

Vision for the River Wandle. Find out more HERE.

"A naturally functioning, self-sustaining chalk stream rich in biodiversity and a haven for Londoners"

Developed in partnership with the local community the Vision forms a core part of the Wandle Catchment Plan, outlining the four key aims to improve the River Wandle and its surrounding landscape. 

Soar Vision

A Vision for the Soar Catchment. Find out more HERE.

"A Soar catchment that has a sustainable and diverse water environment that benefits people, the natural environment and the economy of the local area. A catchment in good ecological condition with improved resilience to climate change, flooding and pollution events. As a Catchment Partnership for the Soar, we will work together using innovation and cooperation, to capitalise on the opportunities presented and find solutions to the challenges faced.”



TERMS OF REFERENCE (growing - sustainable)

Terms of Reference (ToRs) define the roles and responsibilities of the CaBA partnership and its governance structure. They can help to draw the partnership together and build inclusivity. A survey by the Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) Project identified that partnerships with a ToR tend to be able to maintain progress when there are difficulties or conflicts within the partnership. There is not set standard for ToRs and each partnership should have freedom to develop ways of working that work for their local circumstances. Below are links to some example ToRs and a template which you can use as a starting point.

Example Terms of Reference:

Save The Eden Coalition Terms of Reference

Yorkshire Esk Catchment Partnership Terms of Reference

Blank Template Terms of Reference


GIS Layers NPaling

Frequency: Annual review
Length: NA
Objective: Provide a shared evidence base for CaBA delivery

An evidence-based approach can help to bring in new partner organisations and make the business case for funding bids, by increasing the certainty and confidence in likely outcomes.  Data and evidence are often an essential component for larger flagship projects, helping partners to agree on issues and priorities, through effective data analysis and visualisation.  Establishing baseline evidence is critical for monitoring outcomes and adapting future plans. Every catchment has access to a nationally consistent evidence base, and there are a wide range of models and decision-support tools, and survey and monitoring systems which can be used to augment the local evidence base.  The exact nature of the local evidence base required will depend on each catchment partnership's priorities.  Collecting, analysing, visualising, sharing and storing of data and evidence takes time, resource and expertise, so requires careful thought.  Only use data and evidence which will help your partnership to agree and fund actions, and then use the guidance, resources, templates, training and technical support available via the CaBA website to help you build capacity in this area.  If you would like some help, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for advice.

Below we have summarised some of the data, evidence, models, tools, training and support which can help catchment partnerships to produce an evidence-based catchment plan. You can find out more information and link to many more examples by visiting our Tools and Case Studies: Use Data section HERE.

NATIONAL evidence - CABA DATA & GIS package (initial)

There are growing data and GIS resources now available for all catchments in England which provide a sound evidence base on which to build local understanding and consensus. These resources help underpin the weight of evidence approach that is so critical to the credibility and effectiveness of any partnership. 


The Desktop CaBA GIS Data Package is a set of over 120 data layers, which is provided to CaBA Catchment Hosts under a license negotiated centrally with the data providers.  The layers have been symbolised to aid interpretation, and a guidance manual is available to help with an evidence-based assessment of your catchment.  Data is provided in both ESRI and MapInfo formats, with a simple map template included which can be customised with partnership logos.  CaBA host organisations can share the data package with their partners to facilitate collaborative and evidence-based catchment planning. Find out more about what data are available HERE.

Download a copy of the CaBA GIS Data Package Guidance V4 as a PDF. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.to request the data package for your catchment, or for more information. 

RTNewMappingPortalThumb The New Rivers Trust  Mapping Portal  provides CaBA partnerships with online access to a selection of datasets from the desktop GIS package, updated with 2016/17 partnership details, and with some newly released layers.  ESRI users can 'plug and play', viewing and querying the data layers directly in online maps and apps, or desktop software. Layers can be clipped  to a chosen catchment, and exported to different formats.  The datasets are also available to re-use in other GIS formats via the open data portal.    

The mapping portal also displays some of the ArcGIS Online showcase apps, which are being developed by catchment partnerships, and provides access to online training resources. Visit the new Rivers Trust Mapping Portal  HERE.  Find out more about GIS training HERE.


The Environment Agency's Catchment Data Explorer is an interactive application built on Open Linked Data, which can help you drill down in to the detail of the River Basin Management Planning datasets. The tool contains detailed data on the Water Framework Directive assessments of rivers, lakes, estuaries and ground waters in England. Search by postcode, river name, etc. to find detailed breakdown for your local waterbodies, including EA's assessment of issues and sources of the problems, and a summary of measures being undertaken to address failures. Find out more HERE

EA Bathing Water Explorer

The EA's Bathing Water Data Explorer allows you to search for a bathing water by name, county or postcode, or by browsing around the map. You can then see the detailed data the agency has collected about that site. Find out more HERE.




Free online ArcGIS training is available for CaBA partnerships.  The online training modules have been developed by Westcountry Rivers Trust with collaborative funding from EA/Defra and the Scottish Fisheries Coordination Centre. The training is available at the Ecospatial website. Catchment partnerships can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.to request a username and password.  



Local data and evidence is key to engaging with both the public and local business. It is also vital to providing the detail needed to target and evaluate projects at the local catchment level.  Information on methods, tools and approaches for collecting local data and evidence, including citizen science and volunteer monitoring, can be found under the Monitoring and Evaluation tab HERE.

The CaBA Data and GIS package is organised in such a way as to allow the addition of local data and evidence. This component of the catchment plan will grow and change over time, and online maps and apps can help to gather new data, and share it more widely with stakeholders.  

The Riverfly Partnership provide training and monitoring kits for local partnerships to start monitoring the ecological health of their river.  This can establish valuable baseline evidence and also acts as an early warning of serious pollution incidents. You can now view the Riverfly Partnership survey points in ArcGIS online, and click on a survey point to view the full data archive at the Riverfly Partnership data archive.  This GIS layer is available for all CaBA partnerships to incorporate in their own maps. 

Freshwater Watch - a global platform for citizen science, including water quality monitoring kits, training, mobile and web apps and a network of scientists providing data interpretation.  See an example of how a local CaBA partnership is mapping and sharing their own volunteers' results HERE

Modular River Survey http://modularriversurvey.org/   for river habitat surveying

River Obstacles https://www.river-obstacles.org.uk/ for surveying, recording and sharing information about fish migration barriers

Electrofishing database from Scottish Fisheries Coordination Centre https://www.intrelate.com/sfcc/home.asp  for storing, querying and reporting fish survey records.  Contact SFCC for more info http://www.sfcc.co.uk/ 

LOCAL EVIDENCE - Derived Data (growing - Sustainable)

Derived data aids understanding of the catchment and effective targeting of projects. Many CaBA partnerships are using both simple and complex models to augment the basic data from the CaBA Data Package. Below are links to some example tools and approaches.

The SCIMAP fine sediment risk model (developed by Durham and Lancaster Universities) indicates where the highest risk of sediment erosion risk occurs in the catchment and helps the targeting of catchment management interventions. A web-based version of the tool my.SCIMAP has recently been launched making the model much more accessible and easy to use. You can register to use My.Scimap HERE, and find more general information about the SCIMAP modelling framework HERE.

Below is a short training video which shows how to run the my.SCIMAP tool and export the data for visualising and sharing in various GIS platforms.


The Source Apportionment‐GIS (SAGIS) model (UKWIR and EA) quantifies the loads of pollutants to surface waters in the UK from 12 point and diffuse sources including wastewater treatment works, agriculture and septic tanks. Find out more HERE.

Farmscoper is a decision support tool developed by ADAS, that can be used to assess diffuse agricultural pollutant loads on a farm and quantify the impacts of farm mitigation methods on these pollutants. Find out more HERE.

WRT Ecosystem Services

The Westcountry Rivers Trust, in collaboration with DEFRA and the Rivers Trust, has developed a method for undertaking stakeholder-led spatial visualisation of ecosystem services provisioning areas in a catchment landscape. Find out more HERE.
RELU Health Cards

Ecosystem Health Report Cards: A RELU Programme project investigating the combination of regulation, advice, land use measures, incentives and voluntary action for a collaborative and adaptive approach to catchment management. Find out more HERE.

local evidence - sharing platforms (growing - sustainable)

Efficient and transparent sharing of data and information between all of the organisations involved in catchment management planning and delivery is critical to ensuring that all partners are fully engaged in the process and can contribute fully.  Evidence sharing platforms are available for all partnerships and are an increasingly popular component of many catchment plans.The CaBA support team led by The Rivers Trust and coordinated through the Catchment Data User Group are developing a number of tools and approaches to facilitate better information sharing.

Have you found a good way of sharing information with your partners?  Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.what works well in your catchment - we'd love to hear from you and share with the wider network.

Derbyshire Derwent

There are a number of ArcGIS Online templates which have been developed by the CaBA Support Group, in collaboration with various CaBA partnerships, which can readily be  used and adapted by any partnership. Click the links below to see some good examples:
Derbyshire Derwent CaBA Partnership;    The River Soar CaBA Partnership Priorities;    The Wharfe Catchment Management Plan


CaBA Evidence Sharing Platform Trial. Funded under the Catchment Partnership Fund, and jointly managed by the Environment Agency and The Rivers Trust, a trial is underway to test online data sharing platforms for two-way information sharing between CaBA partnerships and the EA. Find out more HERE

COMING SOON: Creating a local evidence directory  - how to record and share all the local evidence which your catchment partnership is collecting to aid transparency.


local evidence - licensing and data protection (sustainable)

As partnerships collect their own data and share data between partners it will become increasingly important that they are able to easily and securely share data. The Environment Agency has developed an efficient model of conditional licensing.

COMING SOON Data Sharing Agreement, license templates and guidance for data protection, to help ensure that data is not mis-used or misinterpreted.

local EVIDENCE - IDENTIFYING priority places (INITIAL)

The best way to win funding for your partnerships's projects is to identify how your actions will contribute towards the delivery of other organisation's priorities. The sources below can help you understand other organisation's priorities, identify synergies and opportunities to deliver multiple benefits, and build an evidence-based buisness case for your projects.

EAPrioritiseWFDFundingThumbCatchment Coordinators are providing Catchment Partnerships evidence on priority water bodies from a River Basin Management perspective and seeking views on their relative priority for action. The aim is to develop shared priorities for a catchment, so CaBA partnerships have an opportunity to feed in local evidence about other benefits, in addition to WFD. View the EA's presentation from the recent CaBA Catchment Planning workshops HERE and talk to your Catchment Coordinator for more details. 




The Environment Agency's Flood Risk Management Plans provide details of flood risk management priorities within your catchment. Find more information HERE.




Use the Countryside Stewardship statements of priorities and targeting maps to help identify features and issues that Natural England and the Forestry Commission have targeted as priorities within your area. Find out more HERE.



Frequency: Refresh at least annually
Length: Preferably published online so it can be kept up to date
Objective: Provide a focus for ambitious CaBA delivery; aids strategic and project-based collaboration and opportunistic project delivery

The main component of a CaBA catchment plan is a list of projects and activities that move the partnership towards its vision for the catchment, whilst delivering the strategic objectives of key CaBA organisations including the Environment Agency, Natural England, Water Companies and Local Authorities. A key feature of highly effective partnerships is to think big, designing larger projects which deliver significant multiple benefits. Below are 4 suggested methods to help capture and share projects, both current and aspirational. To find out more about project delivery visit the Tools and Case Studies: Deliver section of this web-site HERE.


A list of what partners are already doing can be used to champion the expertise and capacity of the partnership, showcasing the environmental, social and economic benefits realised and building confidence in it as a delivery partner. This is often done in partnership workshops where partners identify current projects. There are lists of projects published by the Environment Agency and as a minimum the Catchment Plan should capture what projects the catchment partnership are, or intend to support with regard to the Environment Agency’s Environment and Flood and Coastal Risk Management (FCRM) Programmes (see links below). Water Companies do have an investment plan for each AMP cycle. These may be available from the relevant water company.


A list of projects to deliver improved flood management are identified in the Environment Agency Flood Management Reports, part C. The Environment Agency plan to release a shapefile of planned projects. Find out more HERE.



Current EA WFD projects.
There are a number of different formats and approaches developing across the Environment Agency to share a list of WFD priority projects. The best way to access these is via your catchment co-ordinator, but EA midlands area team have developed an online form to collect project mandate details for WFD projects, which you can adopt for your catchment - liaise with your catchment coordinator before completing this form.  


FlagshipProjectsTemplateThumbThese are an effective way to move away from 'business as usual' by identifying a shared list of projects that have been developed by the partnership. A critical component of this approach is to identify what each project contributes to the strategic objectives of some of the main CaBA organisations. 

View an example flagship project plan from the Alt Crossens catchment partnership HERE

Download a template for developing an aspirational flagship projects plan HERE



Project database (Growing - Sustainable)


The Environment Agency Catchment Coordinators are starting to develop a project database in some river basins which can be used to show project partners what each other are doing, or planning to do, within the catchment. This is potentially a good way to share project information widely across the partnership and look for opportunities to collaborate. Some catchment partnerships are also developing their own database of 'shovel ready' projects which satisfy the vision of the partnership. Both these approaches allow for an element of independent delivery whereby organisations can just get on with delivering to their own agenda while allowing the wider partnership to spot both gaps and opportunities.

ARCGIS online (Growing - Sustainable)

The CaBA Support Team have developed a range of ArcGIS Online templates that allow partnerships to share 'Current', 'Aspirational' and 'Shovel ready' projects live and online.

HealthyWaterwaysArcGISAn ArcGIS Online GeoForm allows anyone to submit project ideas to The Healthy Rivers Trust CaBA Partnerships. Once approved by the partnership for inclusion on the site the projects will appear on the working with others tab , colour codes by project status. 

 Examples of project databases incorporated in to ArcGIS Online Story Maps:

HRT AGOLscreengrab3Healthy Rivers Trust CaBA Partnerships



DerbDerwAGOL2Derbyshire Derwent Catchment Partnership




Frequency: Review at least annually
Length: Simple Excel spreadsheet to 10 page document. Published online so it can be kept up to date.
Objective: To support a weight of evidence based approach and adaptive management of the catchment. The adaptive management approach requires data to be collected to evaluate the effectiveness of current interventions and inform the choice and design of future interventions. 

Having delivered our environmental measures, it is then vital that we collect sufficient evidence to provide an objective and scientifically robust assessment of the effectiveness of our interventions. Ultimately, we must be able to justify that the money we have spent and the interventions we have made across the landscape have either delivered significant improvements in the health of the environment and/or have generated significant secondary financial, ecological and social benefits. For more information visit our Case Studies and Tools: Monitoring section HERE.


Citizen Science is a fundamental data gathering and engagement tool for Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) partnerships to help develop understanding of the issues in catchments and also to engage their local communities in identifying and delivering solutions.


The CaBA Support Team have collated a Citizen Science and Volunteer Monitoring resource pack to support the CaBA partnerships in their work to protect and enhance the freshwater environment. It provides a collection of useful links, contacts, technical references and case studies which other CaBA partnerships have used and shared. Find out more HERE.





In December 2016, The Rivers Trust ran a water quality training workshop for CaBA partners involved in the Natural Course LIFE Integrated Project in the NW River Basin District.  The aim of the workshop was to show what sort of information can be gleaned from different types of water quality monitoring data, and to make available a suite of tools and resources to help access and analyse existing data, and plan future collaborative monitoring strategies.   The tools, templates, sample data, worksheets and presentations from the workshop are available HERE.


Below are some templates and case studies that can help you develop a CaBA monitoring plan.

Water Quality Monitoring Plan Template (A worksheet to help guide you through the process of planning a collaborative WQ monitoring strategy to answer questions in your catchment. Includes some examples)

The River Restoration Centre - Practical River Restoration Appraisal Guidance for Monitoring Options (PRAGMO) www.therrc.co.uk/monitoring-guidance  
Guidance on monitoring protocols, and how to plan the right things to monitor to demonstrate success for river restoration projects. Includes monitoring planner template, which we have adapted to create the above template. 
RRC also run associated training courses – see the RRC website for details.




 The River Restoration Centre - Project Monitoring Factsheets http://www.therrc.co.uk/river-restoration-factsheets

Summary of the PRAGMO guidance on monitoring your project outcomes, and a useful guide to fixed point photography as a way of monitoring project outcomes.





Upstream Thinking strategic monitoring plan was required by a major industrial investor in catchment management to ensure that projects are delivering benefits. 





The Catchment-Based Approach website is designed to showcase the work of catchment partnerships aross England and Wales and to encourage the sharing and adoption of best practice in stakeholder-led catchment managment planning, delivery and evaluation.
Email: info@catchmentbasedapproach.org


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