Project Advice

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Project Scoping

    Design & Implementation   Monitoring & Evaluation

The River Restoration Centre (RRC) is able to support and provide advice to practitioners in a variety of different ways:

While these are intended to show some of the ways we can help, we have a very flexible approach and it is often easier to talk to us directly to find out how we can best assist with your project.
  Current opportunity - Environment Agency Natural Flood Management Programme  
  The Environment Agency and DEFRA have a £25m fund to increase flood resilience with Natural Flood Management projects in England. The deadline for applications is 10th November 2023.  

Contact us if you are interested in including RRC in your NFM Programme project bid.


Project Scoping

Determining a vision for your catchment
RRC is able to work closely with you to assess what broad aspirations you may wish to set for your catchment. We can provide advice to ensure that your plan is in-line with current best practice, we can act as an independent reviewer or we can provide examples through case studies and images to supplement your report.

Example – Upper Witham River Improvement Plan

RRC commented on a draft of the Upper Witham River Corridor Habitat Plan which was being developed by the Environment Agency. RRC was able to identify sections where greater clarity or further explanation was required; provide ideas for aims and objective setting; annotate photographs and suggest ways to make data sheets (included as part of the plan) more user-friendly for anyone walking the river.

Identifying opportunities for river restoration
Specific project advice often can’t be given over the phone as every river and catchment is unique. A site visit with RRC can be a useful discussion tool. We aim to tailor each site visit to make sure that you get what you need from the day. We can discuss the initial feasibility of ideas you may have, provide inspiration for what could be done (given our knowledge of hundreds of other UK projects), or we can visit specific parts of a river where you are just not sure what to do.  

Example – Afon Rhondda, Wales

RRC supported Natural Resources Wales (NRW) by helping to identify options for natural flood risk management and opportunities for river enhancement, restoration and aesthetic improvement in the Rhondda valley. Both the Rhondda Fach and Rhondda Fawr are heavily modified through previous engineering works, and run predominantly through urban areas where large areas of land have been identified as being at risk of flooding. 

RRC and NRW carried out quick assessment to identify where there were opportunities to overcome pressures (e.g. culverts, river disconnected from the floodplain). 

Twelve reaches were identified and ground truthed over a two-day site visit. For each opportunity identified, an assessment was made about potential ecosystem service benefits; an indicative cost; and the likely ease of delivery. 
Download the report (RRC is able to share this with the permission of Natural Resources Wales)
Sharing examples of similar projects, success stories and what to avoid
RRC has an expansive resource of case studies, information and knowledge on river restoration and catchment management. In most instances, if you have ideas of how to restore or improve a section of river, we are likely to have a best practice example or understanding of what to do (and what not to do!).  And if we don't we will know someone else who has.
Example – River Dee SSSI, Lancashire
RRC provided advice on alternative soft bank protection solutions to Natural England in response to a proposal to install gabion baskets (covered with soil and seeded) on a section of eroding bank on the River Dee SSSI near Eccleston. RRC provided a range of different examples from rivers with similar issues.


Communicating outputs to partners
RRC can produce high quality indicative drawings and maps to communicate ideas and opportunities to a range of partners. These can be tailored to your needs and the expertise of the intended audience.  Our maps can be exported into your own GIS software or uploaded to Google Maps for communication to community members and partners. 

RRC is able to take 360° photos of your river which can be shared with partners and community members who are interested in the river. 

These images are taken every 10 metres along the river bank and are a greate tool for learning, sharing and communicating.

Please speak to us if you would like to learn more about taking 360° photos.



Design & Implementation

The River Restoration Centre (RRC) is able to support and provide advice to designers, project managers and practitioners in a variety of different ways. While the two examples below are intended to show some of the ways we can help, we have a very flexible approach and it is often easier to talk to you directly to find out how we can help.

Reviewing sketches, technical designs & plans from an independent expert perspective
Example – River Kenn, Devon

RRC provided a short review of a number of scenarios that Environment Agency staff had proposed for a section of the river where works were planned. RRC was able to suggest ways to alter the conceptual designs to construct a more diverse and ‘natural’ channel and therefore deliver a greater number of benefits. The scheme was delivered in 2014 with initial post-project appraisal suggesting that the works were successful (i.e. the channel is adjusting as expected to its and the designed pool-riffle sequence is leading to the formation of a variety of new in-channel habitats).

On-hand advice and support 
RRC is always on-hand to offer advice and support throughout the design and construction phase of your restoration project. Give us a call, ask us questions if you’re unsure of anything and send us photos and sketches for us to comment on. We aim to provide targeted advice and guidance in any circumstance and can call upon our network of experienced practitioners if we don’t know the answer ourselves.

Example – River Eau, Nottinghamshire

RRC was able to suggest the most appropriate restoration techniques and how to implement these, in line with best practice, for a restoration project in 2013 near Scotterthorpe. We provided some site-specific advice and recommendations on the basis of maps, photographs and a short telecom to discuss the project – without needing to visit ourselves. We were able to provide similar examples and this helped the on-the-ground works to run smoothly, to time and budget.


Monitoring & Evaluation

The River Restoration Centre (RRC) is able to support and provide advice to practitioners in a variety of different ways.

While these are intended to show some of the ways we can help, we have a very flexible approach and it is often easier to talk to us directly to find out how we can help.

Supporting your monitoring 
Monitoring and evidence gathering has often played second fiddle to the design and construction of restoration. However, forward thinking practitioners are now increasingly making provisions in project budgets for better evaluation. RRC is able to either coordinate this on behalf of the project partners or provide independent advisory support. Also see the RRC’s monitoring guidance here.

Example – Mayes Brook, London

RRC was asked to lead and coordinate the monitoring programme for a river restoration project set in Mayes brook Park in 2011. We were contacted prior to on-the-ground works to identify what pre-data were available and therefore what baseline data should be collected. The RRC acted as a hub for the project, storing monitoring data collected in one accessible place. The RRC also liaised with relevant statutory agency staff and local practitioners to ensure that data were collected using the standardised methods at appropriate times of the year. The RRC kept all project partners up-to-date with what was going on by sending quarterly reports on the progress of the monitoring programme.
Independent review of your monitoring approach and techniques
RRC’s monitoring guidance provides advice and step-by-step guidance to setting up a monitoring programme for your restoration project. To draw on the RRC’s experience and expertise, ask us to act as an independent reviewer. We can assess your project against your monitoring targets and provide a simple monitoring framework table to help you get started.

Example – Hogsmill, London

From 2012, the RRC has been the independent expert adviser of all 42 Catchment Restoration Fund projects across England. The Wandle Trust (Lead for 2 of these projects) used the RRC’s monitoring guidance to set S.M.A.R.T. monitoring objectives, they also asked RRC to provide an independent review of these at the onset of the project. The RRC identified a few cases where clarification was needed or more appropriate equipment was available to capture data that the Trust wanted to collect.  This was a useful exercise to plan ahead what resources the Trust needed and when to set this aside for monitoring.  
Independent audit & evaluation of your project 
RRC is able to provide an external and impartial perspective on your project’s achievements. Our reports and feedback may help you when trying to source funding for further restoration given our close ties with UK statutory organisations and our reputation as the UK's restoration advice and information centre.
Example – River Welland, Leicestershire
RRC was invited to visit three restored sites on the River Welland to assess measures implemented with the aim that these would lead to an improvement in the Water Framework Directive status of the waterbody. Comments were provided by RRC on the applicability, cost effectiveness, execution and sustainability of the techniques used.

Sharing learning lessons, producing case studies and publicising your project
RRC can disseminate your project to a very wide audience by featuring it in our monthly Bulletin or on the website. We can also share your latest news using social media via Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. Simply make us aware of your work and we’ll do the rest. By visiting your site with you, we can also write up a case study or upload your efforts onto the fastest growing inventory of river restoration case studies, the European EU RiverWiki, and include the project on the RRC's UK Projects Map.

Example – River Wensum, Norfolk
RRC visited three restored sites on the River Wensum (including one on a tributary, the River Tat) and produced a series of case studies which reviewed the site background and objectives;  project design and implementation; and subsequent performance from the RRC’s impartial and independent viewpoint. These featured in our monthly Bulletin in November 2013 and were later added to the RiverWiki in 2014.