15. River bed improvement upstream of Tewinbury Farm
Theme: Water Quality, Habitats and Wildlife
- That water quality, temperature and river bed quality are such that they support chalk stream ecology
This stretch of river suffers from heavy silt deposition caused by reduced flows, dredging in the 70s, and the ponding effect of a weir. The aim is to restore the river to a silt-free, gravel bedded, shallow, fast flowing stream, with riffles and pools capable of supporting water crowfoot and breeding trout.
A partial survey has shown silt depth varies from 0m to 0.8m. This survey will be completed and in order to calculate the approximate overall quantity of gravel to be required.
Silt displacement will proceed downstream in ten 20m stages. This will ensure displaced silt is not allowed to settle over previously restored sections. Gravel will be deposited and distributed by hand, to avoid damage to the banks and bank-side wildlife. Riffle and pool formations will be incorporated.
There will be intervals of at least two months between successive, early, upstream stages. This will allow the released silt to dissipate downstream more readily. It will also facilitate monitoring of the effects on the nearby SSSI and on downstream wildlife – in particular water voles.
To minimise the effects of silt release downstream, the work will be conducted during times of above average flow, typically winter and spring, to ensure displaced silt is transported out of the river and not allowed to settle downstream.
Surveys of fish and invertebrates will be carried out at selected points along the river at the outset and after the project.