Monmouthshire farmers and landowners have been working with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) on nature-based solutions for sustainable farming.

These solutions support agricultural practices that enhance ecosystems and improve water quality in the Usk and Wye rivers.

The Central Monmouthshire Opportunity Catchment Project (CMOC) aims to improve water quality, increase local ecosystem resilience and directly tackle soil erosion and run-off.

For instance, at Glen farm, new mixed-species hedgerows and trees were planted along a 400 metre stretch, and 780 metres of protective fencing installed to prevent livestock from straying into the river and causing soil erosion.

In turn, this measure helps to safeguard fish-spawning sites by preventing high levels of sediment from getting into the river gravel beds.

Through such strategic adjustments, the scheme can spur benefits such as improved soil health, enhanced grazing management, and improved animal health.

Ed Davies, senior environment officer for Natural Resources Wales said: "We’re really pleased to be working with farmers and other landowners on this project, which uses natural processes to help address issues impacting water quality, climate change, biodiversity loss and water scarcity."

Mr Davies further explained the concept of using nature-based solutions like natural vegetation as water filters, the planting of trees to absorb carbon dioxide, and wetland restoration to prevent flooding.

Scott Millar, owner of Glen Farm, praised the initiative, saying: "I’m really pleased with the project; it will help me manage my grazing and will provide shelter for the livestock as well as improving the biodiversity on the land and will help the water quality/drainage."

On the wider scale, the project is part of ongoing efforts aimed at tackling climate change and nature emergencies.

The strategy emphasises a holistic approach to land-use and development planning as critical components of a healthier, resilient environment.

Elsewhere at Grange Farm, similar measures in collaboration with Bannau Brycheiniog National Park have led to the creation of leaky barriers in a tributary of the Llymon Brook.

These barriers temporarily store water during heavy rainfall, slowing its flow downstream, reducing flood risk and creating diverse habitats for wildlife, all without impeding baseline flows or fish movement.

The project reflects an increasingly urgent need for cooperative and equitable land-use, affecting everyone living and working within these catchment areas.

As Mr Davies added: "Everyone who lives and works within our river catchments has a part to play in safeguarding and improving the environment.

"We need to work together on how we design developments and use land, as well as consider what we do in our everyday life that can reduce the impact we have on the natural world."

This project is funded by the Welsh Government’s Water Capital Programme, underlining a broader commitment to environmental priorities including river restoration, metal mine remediation, fisheries and water quality.