Spotlight on a Trent Rivers Trust project: weirs removal and habitat restoration in Hatchford.

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11 Oct

Streams are sometimes put under pressure. Often modified by humans, they trigger the risk of diffuse and point-source pollution. The project carried out by Trent Rivers Trust in Hatchford Brook with the help of volunteers from the Waterside Care Group aimed at the restoration and the creation of a natural environment for urban wildlife. The removal of two weirs enabled the enhancement of the natural habitat for the local wildlife, including for fish, creating a refuge for the well-being of the locals and took part in the growing Dam Removal Europe movement. Recreational anglers are very active in river trusts in England.

        The stream in Sheldon Country Park nestled in the outskirts of Birmingham is the home of a wealthy wildlife. However, its human-made characteristics had made it difficult for its species to thrive. The woodland surrounding the area had been left unmanaged for forty years and the two weirs nested in the stream were left abandoned.

A key part of the work focused on improving the water flow to make it more natural while connecting habitat for aquatic species. The two weirs were removed, and the riverbanks were reshaped to enhance the natural habitat to attract a wider range of species. The project in Sheldon Country Park was beneficial in many ways. With the removal of the redundant weirs, the installation of five brushwood mattresses and introduction of gravel, the reshaping of the riverbank resulted in the restoration of wet woodland habitat, the creation of annual meadow restoration as well as a woodland creation management plan. The Trent Rivers Trust is now looking at expanding its project portfolio to urban settings. In the meantime, they will continue their monitoring of the water quality of the Hatchford brook and use the site as an urban river restoration demonstration site.

Picture credits to Trent Rivers Trust.

Source: Hatchford Brook - Trent Rivers Trust

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