River Habitat Restoration Project Completed In Norfolk
A partnership between the Environment Agency, Norwich City Council and the Norfolk Rivers Trust has just seen a river habitat restoration project along the River Yare near Earlham come to completion.
A new wetland has been constructed, with the aim being to collect surface water runoff, which will improve the quality of the water before it returns to the river. The site also provides a great habitat for wildlife that love wet conditions, while diverse habitats have also been created within the river itself to provide a refuge for fish and benefit aquatic plants.
Work has also been carried out along the riverbanks, which have been worn away over time because of members of the public and dogs going into the river. Bundles of hazel have been secured along the banks and a dog ramp has been installed to help prevent erosion, as well as reducing the amount of mud entering the river.
This project forms part of a wider green infrastructure scheme that will see the creation of a corridor of linked habitats and green spaces along the Yare Valley, with the aim being to improve access to green and natural spaces.
Other work that has already been completed include fish refuges and ponds in Bowthorpe Southern Park, a new footbridge between Colney and Bowthorpe, and improvements to a section of the riverside footpath in Eaton.
Amy Prendergast, catchment coordinator with the Environment Agency, commented on the news, saying: “The works have restored some beautiful sections of the River Yare. Through Earlham Park you can see clear water, clean gravels and fish already enjoying the faster flows. I hope people will make use of the dog ramps and help protect the riverbanks.”
And a representative from the Norfolk Rivers Trust made further comments, saying that the work carried out thus far has increased habitat diversity, as well as the diversity of species in the river. It should also help reduce flooding risk and erosion, as well as improving water quality, they went on to say.
Wetlands are often referred to as nature’s kidneys, because they’re so effective at removing sediment and pollutants from water, which reduces the amount of harmful substances entering rivers, lakes and streams – much like our kidneys remove acid, wastes and extra fluid from our bodies.
They’re also increasingly being planted to serve as wastewater treatment plants, although they usually need a lot of space to function properly, so they’re not often seen in cities like London, as land prices are too high.
But the benefits of wetlands to reduce water pollution are clear, providing excellent pollution control with low operating costs and competitive capital costs.
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