|Last week I assisted at two training courses RRC were holding up in Warrington. We held the Hydromorphology for River Restoration (Level 2) training on Thursday 17th October at the Warrington Deaf Club.|
I attended my Introduction to Hydromorphology (Level 1) training a couple years ago, which introduces delegates to the basic processes of geomorphology and forms and features to look out for in the field. This follow up level 2 course builds on these concepts and provides more in-depth explanation of a few concepts. This was really great to help my understanding of hydromorphological principles, and things to consider when looking at stream energy, how rivers naturally react, considerations for river restoration design, and potential outcomes from implementation of restoration.
The day started with my colleague Marc Naura explaining the principles of hydromorphology and introducing delegates to the stream power equation. This highlighted what the important concepts were to consider when undertaking river restoration planning. Marc explained different river typologies and the use of regime equations to predict how channel forms and features could develop instream.
Working in groups looking at a case study, we were asked to consider how a channel would adapt following a restoration project. There was a lot to think about, and the groups really engaged in discussion, with lots of different perspectives and ideas.
After lunch, Marc continued his presentations on how rivers adjust to change, and the importance of incorporating hydromorphological principles into river restoration design. The groups came together once more to work on another case study example. We were given a series of questions to work through, looking at what we can identify from the material, what the river type is, and what the impacts of restoration might be. We were asked to plan a river restoration scheme, remembering to incorporate all the possible impacts and considerations. The whole course was really informative and left us with lots of ideas to think about when considering the topic of hydromorphology in river restoration schemes.
RHS refresher course
The day after the Hydromorphology for River Restoration (Level 2) course, we were back at the same venue in Warrington to deliver a River Habitat Survey (RHS) Certification refresher course. The small group came together to discuss what issues they find with their surveys, difficulties which continually crop up, and how they have been implementing RHS in their work. It was great to brainstorm some of the problems others had experienced during their surveys, and think of ways some of these could be smoothed out to help improve surveys in the future.
The group looked over applications of RHS and the ways these have been used in different types of projects. After a quick refresher quiz to test the attendees on their definitions and identification of modifications, the group went out on site to survey Dingle Brook, a small stream flowing through a woodland in the Lumb Brook Valley in Appleton Thorn, Warrington.
The weather held off for us in the afternoon, although the banks and track through the woodland were a bit muddy! Lower flows meant features were visible, and the group went about doing their RHS along the 500m reach.
We headed back to the venue for a quick summary on main points to remember, before the group left, inspired to continue using this method to survey their rivers. RHS is a great tool for pre and post project monitoring, and indices can be used to determine the change in channel naturalness and habitat quality following restoration or enhancement.