Celebrating the First Year of Resilient River!

Celebrating the First Year of Resilient River!

12 Apr 2019

The first 18 months since the launch our Resilient River project – part of our Nenescape Landscape Partnership – have been a whirlwind of activity along the banks of the River Nene. Here are some of the highlights…

March 2019 marked 18 months since we began work on Resilient River as part of our Heritage Lottery-funded Nenescape partnership. Over the course of 3 years, the Resilient River project aims to connect habitats along the length of the River Nene by restoring neglected/altered backchannels & backwaters.

Resilient River will serve to improve biodiversity, protect, enhance and interpret heritage features, and improve the resilience of water quality and supply in the face of population growth, urbanisation and climate change. 

Over the past year, the project has completed works on 4 out of 12 key areas of the river; 


Elton Backchannel

  • Planting new trees to provide refuge for local wildlife, increase shade, and reduce in-channel reed growth.
  • Replacing existing fencing and installation of new wooden stiles for better access for anglers.
  • Installing 3 new pasture pumps in the adjacent field for cattle to access water
  • Formalising the banks of an existing ford to reduce sediment input during high flows.


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Barnwell Inner Backchannel

  • Using the ‘hinge and pin’ method to secure trees to the riverbank.
  • Pollarding of trees which secured to the bank to provide deadwood habitat and act as a base for revetment works.
  • Brushwood bundle revetment work to protect the bank from erosion.
  • Planting of native tree species to provide shading of the channel.
  • Gravel introduction to provide clean and fresh gravel for fish spawning habitat and for invertebrates.


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Whitemills

  • Hinging and pinning a number of small willows along the left hand bank of the backchannel to increase marginal woody habitat for fish.
  • Re-grading the right hand bank to reduce bank gradient.
  • Erecting fencing to protect areas of the bank from erosion issues.
  • Planting of native tree species to provide shading of the channel.


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Stanwick Backwater

  • Removing in-channel vegetation and silt to re-connect the backwater to the main River Nene to re-instate access for fish.


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Viktor Tzikas, River Restoration officer for River Nene Regional Park, said of the progress:

 

“I’m thrilled with how the project is progressing. Even though there are always obstacles, we’ve managed to get over them when we need to. The partnership working between ourselves and the multiple teams within the Environment Agency has been incredible and has sparked much better cohesion internally at the EA than before. Future wise, we look forward to seeing the 3-year projects come to fruition as they are the largest and most public projects. It’ll be tough getting them delivered with various constraints, however, we plan on working hard to ensure they are delivered.”

 

Kathryn Hardcastle, CEO of River Nene Regional Park, added:

 

“With the support of our partners, we have exceeded our ambitions for this project in the first year and we are thrilled with the positive feedback and the exciting opportunities ahead.”

 

Moving forward into its second year, the project will turn its attention to areas including Nassington Backchannel, Ailsworth Backchannel, and Fotheringay Backwater, implementing a full-length restoration scheme to introduce new gravel, increase woody habitat and introduce riverside fencing to protect margins. Fotheringay Backwater, in particular, is a key spawning habitat and refuge for fish, and the next phase of the project will aim to restore habitat that has been lost through siltation in recent years and decrease the chance of recurrence.

 

You can find more information on completed Resilient River works, and get regular updates on the progress of the project in 2019 by following our News pages