For the first time, Dublin hosted The Rivers Trust Spring Conference to celebrate the recent growth of the Rivers Trust movement across the island of Ireland. Over 120 delegates gathered for The Rivers Trust Spring Conference which focussed on The Journey of Rivers Trusts - Past, Present and Future, held on Wednesday 21st March at the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade’s Iveagh House in Dublin. The conference was at full capacity and was attended by old and new Rivers Trusts from across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland, as well as government bodies, local authorities and non-government organisations, all involved in protecting and improving our rivers and lakes. The conference was an opportunity for everyone to come together to discuss and learn about the formation of Rivers Trusts and the challenges our precious freshwater environment faces, as well as casting an eye into the future to seek out new opportunities and learn about the direction of the movement. Mark Horton, All-Ireland Director for The Rivers Trust, said: “The conference was a fantastic success and it was a great opportunity for our newest Rivers Trusts in Ireland and Northern Ireland to share ideas and experiences and to create partnerships across this exciting, fast-growing, environmental movement of Rivers Trusts. “There has never been a more important time to take care of our river environment in Ireland and Northern Ireland, rivers see no political boundaries and this conference really highlighted how much we need to work together to protect our rivers and lakes.” The conference was funded by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, an agency within the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. David Small, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, said: “Society, the economy and the wider environment all benefit from good quality clean water in our rivers, lakes and groundwater systems. The actions required to achieve “Good Status” in our water bodies are however particularly challenging. “The need for partnership working has never been more evident and our ability to meet our water quality objectives has been greatly enhanced by working in partnership with organisations such as The Rivers Trust.” In closing the conference, Eoghan Murphy, the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, thanked all the delegates for coming to Dublin and said: “The Rivers Trust movement on the island of Ireland has a major role to play in improving north/south co-operation on catchment management and shared water learning between communities. I’m delighted as well to see active collaboration between Ireland and Britain on best practice to facilitate the growth of the Rivers Trust movement”. The conference was followed by a day of workshops to celebrate World Water Day and to discuss water quality challenges specific to Ireland and Northern Ireland, which finished with a formal signing of a partnership agreement between The Rivers Trust and the Waters and Communities Office. You can find the presentations from the day here.