Rivers & Wetlands

Rivers and Wetlands

The bulk of the work carried out by Five Rivers includes wetland and river restoration projects. We undertake all types of restoration and enhancement on all river systems, from small tributaries to estuarine habitats. We have specialist in-house equipment and over twenty years’ experience of working in and around rivers. Wetlands are extremely important habitats within any catchment: they support a wide variety of unique flora and fauna and are considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems. Wetlands provide vital ecosystem services such as water purification and natural flood prevention.

River Restoration

River Restoration Centre Corporate Sponsor

River Restoration Centre Corporate Sponsor

Five Rivers is a specialist contractor that has been heavily involved in river restoration and river habitat improvements since the mid-1990s. We are specialists in chalk stream and river restoration. We successfully deliver restoration projects on a wide range of river types across the country. Five Rivers’ knowledge, skill and experience ensure our projects are robust and work with the river’s natural processes.

We use our extensive experience of restoring rivers to ensure each site gets the greatest environmental gain for the available budget, often utilising site won materials where possible.

river restoration

Bed level raising to counteract historic dredging

river project

Re-meandering of previously dredged and straightened channel by installing berms and woody debris

river rehabilitation

Use of timber grapple to install coarse woody debris (CWD) within channel narrowing berms, this produces exceptional juvenile fish habitat

wetland conservation

Formulisation of a bank breach in an artificial mill leat providing a natural fish by-pass channel

Five Rivers carries out river restoration projects on any scale. Common methods that we use in these projects include:

  • Bed level raising
  • Flood plain reconnection
  • Re-meandering
  • Back water creation (sometimes referred to as off-river support units or ORSU)
  • Channel narrowing
  • Installation of flow deflectors and groynes
  • Soft revetments and bank protection
  • Fish passage improvements
  • Installation of coarse woody debris (CWD) and large woody debris (LWD) and log jams

Where additional materials are required we work with established and trusted suppliers and can provide amongst other things: pre-planted coir rolls, coir pallets, hazel faggots, chestnut posts and pre-cut green oak. We also supply and install a diverse range of aquatic and marginal plants suitable for a wide range of projects. All wood products are from sustainably managed sources.

As well as these we offer a wide range of river bio-engineering and light civil engineering services such as pedestrian bridges, water control structures and flood defence structures. We can act as designer and contractor as required, we also offer an early contractor involvement (ECI) service which can highlight any potential issues early on in a project lifecycle. We are members of the River Restoration Centre and support the work of the Wild Trout Trust.

We specialise in working in sensitive sites, our specially modified low ground pressure plant utilises bio-degradable hydraulic oil ensuring minimal risk of environmental exposure.


Wetland Restoration and Wetland Creation

Wetland Restoration is a broad subject, and can encompass techniques already described under river restoration. Wetland sites are often highly sensitive containing rare biota, many are protected under some form of designation. Five Rivers provide a broad range of wetland restoration and wetland creation services to enhance our wetlands, including:

  • Wetland restoration and creation
  • Mire restoration and creation
  • Water Meadow restoration and creation
  • Wetland scrape creation
  • Installation of wetland control structures

Our specialist low ground pressure plant enables us to work in environments where normal plant would cause significant damage. We also have a large stock of timber bog mats which can be deployed as required.

wetland restoration

Mire restoration in the New Forest National Park, bed level raising and meander re-instatement

constructed wetlands

Wetland creation and enhancement

conservation of wetlands

Using imported material to raise level of lowland mire

wetland habitat

Drosera, commonly known as sundew. One of the important species reliant on wetland habitats.


fish passage

Removal of obstruction and installation of structure to formulise flow split and allow fish passage

Fish Passage

We provide a full range of fish passage solutions including design, installation and monitoring. Where possible we will always aim to remove a structure completely, where this is not possible a range of options are available to ensure fish passage is improved for a range of species:

  • Weir removal including partial removal, weir notching and weir slotting
  • Fish by-pass channels
  • Non-technical fish passes including rock ramps, pre-barrages and baffles
  • Engineered pool and baffles fish passes
  • Specialist eel passes

Fish passage is important not only for anadromous and catadromous species such as Salmon and Eel, but many other species will also migrate throughout river systems in order to reach suitable habitat for different life stages. We work in line with the Environment Agencies Fish Pass Manual to ensure the most appropriate and cost-effective solution for each barrier, where possible ensuring multi-species fish passage. We can act as both designer and contractor, as well as providing liaison with regulatory bodies, obtaining fish passage approval and Environmental permitting.


We are specialists in monitoring aquatic systems, whether it’s physical, chemical or biological. We are able to offer fisheries monitoring, aquatic ecology, water quality monitoring and physical mapping.

River restoration appraisals are particularly useful to evaluate the effectiveness of established and new methods. We believe strongly in evidence-based river restoration and habitat management.; collecting and sharing pre and post-restoration data, ensures future restoration design and delivery provide the greatest environmental and financial gains. See our monitoring page for more details.

flood defences

Channel modification to increase floodwater conveyance for the Environment Agency in Romsey.

Flood Alleviation and SUDS

Flooding can be managed in a variety of ways and tailored to the site and specific catchment requirements. We can install Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) to semi-urban areas and soft engineering solutions to rural areas.

Many of our river and wetland restoration projects contribute to natural flood protection by slowing the release of water into main rivers. Natural flood risk management, when used alongside traditional flood defences, has been shown to reduce flood risk. We provide design and construction of natural flood defence schemes.



We would love to hear from you…

If you would like to find out more about who we are and what we do contact the team on 01722 783041 or email office@five-rivers.com