9. Creating Wildlife Habitat at King Edward Place
Theme: Ecology and management
- Increase the amount and quality of in-channel, bankside and floodplain habitat
This project aimed to improve the ecology of the River Lea as it passes through a residential area of Wheathampstead.
For about 500m upstream of Wheathampstead Mill, the river suffers from impounded flows, a build up of silt and is over wide and deep due to historic dredging.
The river bank alongside King Edward Place also has very little marginal vegetation because of the depth of water and over-shading from bankside trees. Due to lack of aquatic vegetaion to protect it, the bank is also eroding in some places.
To provide extra habitat for fish, invertebrates and wildfowl, and help protect the banks from further erosion, a series of narrow ledges made of natural woody material will be built along the rivers edge in the channel.
Native aquatic plants, like sedges and purple loosestrife, will be added to give a splash of colour to the river banks and provide food and shelter for wildlife. Some of the bankside trees will be pruned to allow more light to the river, allowing these plants to establish.
This type of soft-engineering will also help to trap some of the silt that is accumulating in the reach and help vary the channel structure and flow, providing more benefits for wildlife.
For more information about this project, please visit the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust website.