Ciwem's Living Wetlands Award For STREAM
River restoration project STREAM, STrategic REstoration and Management of the River Avon, has won CIWEM's Living Wetlands Award. The River Avon has long been valued by anglers and nature conservationists and is the largest unimproved floodplain grazing land in Britain. However, extensive land drainage had changed the local habitat and broken the links between the river and floodplains. STREAM is restoring the river through a catchment approach and link management of the river and floodplain.
STREAM developed a cost effective monitoring protocol to help assess how successful restoration was against physical and biological targets. Initial indications are that in-channel vegetation growth, physical habitat variety and fish target species numbers have all increased as a result of the restoration works. STREAM recently completed restoring seven kilometres of the River Avon system to a more sustainable size and shape, improving its ability to support important aquatic habitats and species such as Atlantic salmon, lamprey and chalk river plants.
The management of the lower River Avon is also linked with the management of the grazing marshes of the Avon Valley. Breeding waders and wintering birds are dependent on suitable conditions being created by controlling and retaining water on the floodplain. Weed cutting, management of structures and natural variations in flow have had an important influence on water levels in the river and valley.
In order to integrate management of water levels in the valley and the needs of migrating fish populations in the River Avon, STREAM developed two tools suitable for areas where there are potential conflicts between river and wetland management. The first uses existing fishery data to generate colour coded maps, which can then be used to assess the potential impact of measures such as ditch reinstatement and new structures on fish. The second is guidance on developing hatch operating protocols for structures that balance a number of river and floodplain interests.
In addition to the more technical work, STREAM also runs an extensive programme of activities including site workshops, seminars for landowners and fishery managers, community events and open days. With the Living River project, over 5000 people have become involved.
STREAM runs for four years and is supported financially by the European Commission's LIFE-Nature fund, Natural England, Environment Agency, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and Wessex Water.
|Source of information||European Water News|
|Subject(s)||NATURAL MEDIUM , POLICY-WATER POLICY AND WATER MANAGEMENT , PREVENTION AND NUISANCES POLLUTION|
|Geographical coverage||United Kingdom|