03 Apr 2018
On the second of March the first of four river restoration schemes was completed at Stanwick Lakes.
The Resilient Rivers scheme, supported by the Nenescape Landscape Partnership and the Environment Agency, completed the re-connection of a backwater to the main river channel.
Although the removal of so much vegetation may look destructive, the reconnected backwater will provide non-flowing habitat. This gives fish a place to shelter during high flow periods and also provides some ideal spawning habitat with weeds and reedbeds at the far end of the backwater. Maintaining fish populations helps to support a number of other species in the river ecosystem.
Upstream, a similar backwater (not connected to the river channel at both ends) has been retained without ‘de-plugging’ to preserve its important habitat for aquatic birds, invertebrates and amphibians.
The decision of which area to restore and which to leave was based on how established each habitat was. The downstream backwater had more open water and fewer reeds and weeds to be cleared than the upstream area, which gives a bigger reedy area for sheltering birds.
The restored habitat will now be monitored so that the impact of the restoration can be measured.