Stage Zero River Reset Project now Complete
A river restoration project in Lincolnshire has now reached completion, with the aim being to absorb more than 117 tonnes of carbon, reduce flood risks downstream and help ease the pressures of drought in the region.
The collaboration between the Environment Agency, Ebsford Environmental, Breheny Civil Engineering and a local landowner saw the river channel infilled with soil to allow water to spill out and choose its own direction of flow, creating wetlands and smaller streams in the process.
The stage zero river reset also saw the use of fallen timber to help slow the flow of water leaving the site. The work has seen groundwater levels raised by 1.5 metres, creating a wetter environment and combating the historical drainage in place for land drainage and milling purposes.
The newly created wetlands work much like a sponge, with water encouraged to spill out across the floodplain during wet weather and releasing it back into the river during periods of low flow.
This will allow the wetlands to better support wildlife during periods of drought and reduce flooding risks further downstream, while trapping nutrients and fine sediment to help provide cleaner river water and further benefit fish and other animals.
This forms part of a series of projects being run by the Environment Agency around the country, working with nature to address both the biodiversity and climate crises together.
Wetland creation and other such nature-based approaches can help provide habitats to support ecological resilience and deliver societal resilience in the form of flood protection and improved water management, for example.
Geomorphologist Matt Parr and project manager Katie Murphy, both from the Agency, said: “We are delighted with the initial results regarding the wetter landscape and water table recharge benefits because of this project.
“These works link to other projects across the UK and the US where this technique was developed. The project also links to a wider catchment-based floodplain restoration approach led by East Mercia Rivers Trust and the Wild Trout Trust. They have been instrumental in supporting delivery of projects on the Upper Witham.
“It will be fascinating to watch the site, river and wetlands develop and evolve over time. This is especially true now that the river has the freedom to choose its own shape and form without human interference.”
The government is also looking to provide assistance further afield, protecting habitats and wildlife all over the world by pledging almost £30 million to support developing countries and help deliver the 30by30 target. This aims to protect at least 30 per cent of the land and ocean habitats around the world by the year 2030.
The funding announcement back in December represents a commitment to provide countries with the tools and resources they need to protect ecosystems and tackle the causes of habitat loss, incl/uding deforestation and unsustainable fishing and farming practices.
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