Case Studies

River habitat creation on the Hampshire Avon SAC

Five Rivers  has recently finished a two week river habitat creation project at Avon, Hampshire.  We worked with the Wessex Chalk Stream and Rivers Trust to improve fish habitat on a 2km reach of the lower Hampshire Avon, building on previous work carried out at Ringwood.

Using a combination of live woody debris features and fry bay creation, we have improved the habitat for a wide range of fish species and life stages.  This increased habitat heterogeneity will also benefit other riparian species such as Water vole and Desmoulin’s whirl snail.

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Innovative River Bank Protection on River Avon SAC

Working for a private client we ensured this property was protected from high flows while creating vital habitat on the River Avon SAC.  Banks were eroding causing trees to be washed into the river, increasing flood risk downstream.  By utilising large woody debris on site and re-profiling banks we ensured that the property will be protected while retaining aesthetic appeal and enhancing conservation value.

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Funges Pond Habitat Enhancement

The main aims of this project were to enhance existing and create new marginalCiltern Rangers habitat in and around the pond. This was achieved by excavating shallow scrapes to provide ephemeral ponds and wetland areas and then using this excavated material to create earth bunds in the pond. Once graded, these bunds created new marginal habitat and acted to segment the large pond into a series of interconnected ponds of different sizes.

Plants were translocated to the new bunds to help re-establish marginal vegetation. Tree works allowed more light into the area and timber, sourced from site, was used to construct new dipping platforms.

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Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) and Floodplain Enhancement

The River Wensum River Restoration and Floodplain Enhancement Project had three main themes to the project: 1. River restoration – Improve the physical habitats and biodiversity of 2.5 km of the River Wensum SSSI/SAC. 2. Floodplain reconnection and enhancement – Improve the functionality and connectivity of the floodplain and restore and develop wetland habitats, notably in excess of 10 ha of reedbeds and other wetlands, in order to support key biodiversity indicators such as bittern and bearded reedling. 3. Diffuse pollution treatment – Address diffuse pollution water quality issues arising from unattenuated surface water run-off from the town of Fakenham and from the agricultural catchment to the north of the site.

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Renaturalisation of an Urban Chalk Stream

This project was focused on restoration of the River Wye in Desborough Recreation Ground, High Wycombe. Fish passage was improved by removing the ineffective concrete fish pass and extending the channel to create a new meander to reduce the gradient. The hard concrete banks were removed and a diverse soft two-stage channel created. Banks, berms and other features were planted to allow for the rapid establishment of marginal vegetation and in-river works created a combination of pinch points, riffles and pools at selected points.

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River Habitat Restoration – Notton and Sydling

This project was aimed at improving habitat diversity by installing large woody debris and re profiling the steep banks. A straightened by-pass channel was enhanced along the River Frome by re-profiling and re-meandering the channel and installing a re-designed water control structure. Fish passage was improved by the new structure and fish nursery invertebrate habitats were created by the enhancement of the re-meandered back channel.

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Habitat Improvements on the River Avon

This project was aimed at improving the habitat of a mill stream for roach by the removal of scrub, re-profiling of sections of the channel banks and installation of deflectors. The re-profiled sections, using specialist excavators, created warm bays for fry. The log deflectors created some flow and velocity diversity.

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Wetland Restoration at Witherington Farm

This project was aimed at enhancing a significant area of derelict water meadow to provide wetter habitat for breeding waders as part of the farm’s Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme. The remnant water meadow channels were lightly excavated and interlinked, while low-points in the ridges made up to level. A new water inlet was created to provide a level of water that is critical to maintaining the required damp conditions into the early summer.

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