39. River Beane Enhancements at Waterford Marsh
Theme: Water Quality, Habitats and Wildlife
- That whatever the flow level, the river and its associated habitats, including banks and floodplains, are managed to support chalk stream species
This is a partnership project between the Environment Agency and Countryside Management Service (Hertfordshire County Council) to improve the condition of the River Beane through Waterford Marsh.
The project consists of two areas of focus:
1. Waterford Marsh and Goldings Meadows Local Wildlife Sites: delivery of in channel and floodplain enhancements as recommended in the "Waterford Weirs" feasibility study (2017).
The main objectives of this work are to:
- Restore 1km of priority chalk stream habitat
- Create approx. 0.5ha priority wetland habitat on floodplain
- Allow fish and eel passage through area, providing an additional 3km of river habitat
- Ensure ongoing public engagement with relevant landowners and stakeholders
Work began in January 2023 (carried out by contractor Aquamaintain) to:
- Remove concrete embankments along the river, reprofiling the banks to form a more natural profile
- Install ‘brash berms’ (woody habitat) within the river channel to increase habitat and flow diversity for fish, plants and invertebrates
- Remove a small weir (at the top of the marsh) that currently impounds (ponds) the upstream channel
- Expand and deepen wetland scrapes in the meadow, so that they hold more water for longer to support wildlife
Fencing and cattle drinking points will be installed at a later date along the channel, which will maintain the Right of Way access throughout Waterford Marsh. This will help to ensure effective conservation grazing of the marsh, whilst protecting the river from cattle.
2. Waterford Weir (horseshoe weir at bottom of the marsh): delivery of adaptation to stabilise the weir breach that occurred in 2020 and enable fish passage as recommended in the "Waterford Weirs" feasibility study (updated 2021).
More information about both phases of the project can be found in this update to the Beane Catchment Partnership provided in December 2022.