RRC Conference and River Prize Awards Dinner

Last month, the RRC 18th Annual Conference took place at the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel. With 321 delegates in attendance over the two days, this was the biggest conference so far. Presenters representing academia, consultancy and engineering came together to deliver their projects and experiences. 48 presentations covered a number of issues including hot topics Natural Flood Management and geomorphological design.
The keynote speaker, Angela Gurnell from Queen Mary University of London, gave a captivating presentation on putting the ‘geo’ in Hydrogeomorphology, considering processes, forms and interactions. With over 4 decades of experience in this industry, Angela continues to research the flow, sediment and vegetation interaction, which is becoming an important perspective with current topics such as Natural Flood Management and soft engineering techniques. Delegates engaged with this concept and a positive question and answer session followed.

5 workshops were also on offer, allowing delegates to share their thoughts and bounce ideas off other participants. Green infrastructure, community engagement and silt management were all targeted in this year’s workshops, offering delegates the chance to raise specific issues and problems they had faced. 2 site visits took place, offering the opportunity to get out in the field and see restoration in practice. These visits are a great way to inspire participants to carry out restoration themselves, or provide ideas for suitable methods for their own projects.

44 posters were on display showcasing projects and research on a number of topics. Thank you to everyone who submitted a poster this year. It was great to see so many projects demonstrated, and to hear about your work first hand. Congratulations to this year’s poster winner and runner-ups – Swindale Valley; MoRPh: A tool for recording physical habitat distributions, adjustments and turnover in rivers; and Castle Irwell urban wetland project.

The UK River Prize Awards Dinner also took place during the conference. The evening was a great success, recognising the hard work of all those involved in active river restoration projects, and celebrating their achievements. This year the winner of the Catchment Project category, and overall River Prize winner was the River Avon, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset. The partners were awarded the Nigel Holmes Trophy and cash prize by Rebecca Powell, representing last year’s winners the Rivers Eden, Derwent and Kent.

The three finalists were also awarded certificates for their restoration projects – The River Frome, Stroud Rural Sustainable Drainage Project; The Healthy Rivers Project; and The Pearls in Peril Project. Three projects also received highly commended certificates – Bottesford Beck; The River Soar; and East Tullos Burn. Click here to read more on the River Prize applicants and view their videos.

This year was also the first year for the River Champions funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. 9 Champions were recognised for their voluntary contributions to river restoration in their area. Click here to find out more about the 2017 River Champions! With all these awards and celebrations, the dinner had a friendly, positive atmosphere where delegates were able to network, make new contacts, and catch up with old ones.

The RRC Annual Conference is our biggest event, and we always enjoy catching up with you, and organising great presentations and workshops for you to learn from and share your experiences. We hope you enjoyed this successful event, and look forward to welcoming you to the 19th event next year. Many thanks from all of the RRC Team.


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