River Bewl Restoration Project
River Bewl, Lamberhurst
November 2016 - February 2018
EA, National Trust
- Extensive tree coppicing, cut back of ground vegetation and scrub clearance along the riverbank to open up the channel and create a mosaic of habitat.
- Creation of low-level earth berms with brushwood base and gravel berms to narrow channel, accelerate flows and accentuate variation in planform.
- Placing riffles and glides to provide shallower, faster-flowing sections to favour target ecological communities and locally entrain fine sediment to improve quality of spawning gravels for salmonids.
- Floodplain excavation to increase habitat complexity through the provision of marginal backwater. Furthermore, pools provide a refuge for aquatic fauna during low-flow events.
- Addition of large wood that serve as attachment sites and food sources for aquatic macro-invertebrates.
- Generation of a hibernaculum with stacks of logs pilled up that gives a safe place to shelter through the cold of winter for reptiles and amphibians.
- Re-profiling of the eroded bank to encourage in-channel and marginal vegetation.
- Removal of a damaged fence to replace it with a new fencing.
- Site won woody debris was used for in-channel features to reduce the number of construction vehicles required and minimize the impact of the scheme on the local road network during construction.
- Due to the amount of work the project was segregated into three phases.
- The vegetation community located within the SSSI was translocated to preserve this scarce habitat.
- Restored 3 km of the River Bewl by re-grading the damaged banks, increase light penetration to support aquatic plants and install in-channel features to slow flows and create habitat variations.
- Provided deep, still waters through the excavated pools which are excellent resting areas for fish and a nursery habitat for juvenile fish. Furthermore, backwaters enhance water quality by facilitating the deposition of fine sediments during low-flow events.
- Large wood features can reinforce retention of organic matter that in turns improve nutrient processing and provide cover for fish.
- Creation of a diverse riparian environment through the plantation of native species.