I had an opportunity to visit Roadford reservoir in the Southwest to see how the headwater stream there had been restored by skilled volunteers - a beaver family. These were introduced to an 3 ha enclosure to combat encroaching scrub in the culm grassland by Derek Gow, the Devon Wildlife Trust and the landowner, John Morgan. The adjacent headwater streams look pretty natural compared with my local chalk streams - small streams flowing through green wooded valleys.
I am an avid scuba diver and trekker, brought up and educated in Italy. As a marine environmental scientist I am interested in the ability of natural systems to deliver ecosystem services. I have now started my PhD research at Cranfield University in collaboration with the River Restoration Centre. My research concerns river restoration measures and their impact on the hyporheic zone. In particular, my work focuses on assessing the effectiveness of physical restoration under varying hyporheic conditions for ecological and habitat improvement.
There has been a recent addition to our team at the RRC as part of a new initiative. Will Barber has joined us as our Local Engagement and Communications Officer.
Earlier this year the River Tweed was announced as the 2015 UK River Prize winner. Luke Comins, Director of Tweed Forum, picked up a cheque for £10,000 and the Nigel Holmes Trophy during the RRC Annual Network Conference at Whittlebury Hall.
This year the RRC’s Annual General Meeting was held at SEPA’s office in Edinburgh. The site visit went to Stane Gardens in the Shotts community in North Lanarkshire. The area has been heavily contaminated and altered by historical steel industries and development. The South Calder Water, which runs through the site, has been straightened and channelised, and culverted for about 350m.
At the start of July I attended a small workshop at the Izaak Walton Hotel overlooking the River Dove in Dovedale, Staffordshire.
As part of the suite of SSSI Rivers in England the Trent Rivers Trust and partners have recently completed the River Restoration Plan for the Dove SSSI. This document sets out what is currently problematic and what is needed to protect and improve this iconic but troubled limestone river.
Written by Will Barber, the RRC’s new local engagement and communications officer
On Thursday 9th of July, professionals from organisations across England, Scotland and Wales came together in Hexham, Northumberland for a workshop on Ecosystem services, facilitated by Jenny Mant from the River Restoration Centre. Participants were interested in how the ecosystem services approach could be applied, both within their work streams and the wider work of their organisations.
On the 9th of June we held our second technical training course of the year in Manchester in the impressive National Cycling Centre. The day started with coffee and biscuits before Jenny Mant (RRC) gave an introduction to fluvial processes and river restoration, with the second presentation of the day, from Judy England (Environment Agency), detailing the ecological drivers and benefits of river restoration.
Over the last two weeks, from the 21st April to the 1st of May, the Environment Agency hosted a programme of practical days, site visits, discussions and workshops in five UK river basin districts (nine catchments) across the UK.
For future applicants for the UK River Prize & Nigel Holmes Trophy, we thought we might let you in on a secret - each application is assessed and scored cross a range of criteria, including an enigmatic X Factor! This is really a challenge for the judges to identify a feature of each project which might be difficult to describe, but made the project special. There was no shortage of star qualities in the latest set of applications.