Funding for county's waterways

Friday 3rd July 2015

A silt trap (c) Lucy WoodA silt trap (c) Lucy Wood

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has secured over £80,000 to improve water quality and wildlife habitats in Bromsgrove, Redditch and the Teme Valley.

The county-based conservation charity, winner of a national England River Prize in 2014, will host three projects that focus on a catchment based approach to improving the county’s waterways. Each project will improve the water for both people and wildlife.

Lucy Wood, Water and Wetlands Officer for the Trust, explained “We’re over the moon to have secured the funding to undertake crucial work that will improve more of Worcestershire’s waterways.

“We’ve already spent four years doing exactly this kind of work with landowners along the Bow Brook so are really keen to make a difference elsewhere in the county.

Parts of the River Arrow have been canalised (c) Lucy Wood“We’ll be working with local authorities, Government agencies, landowners, home owners and communities along the Battlefield Brook in Bromsgrove, the River Arrow and Blacksoils Brook in Redditch and the Teme in the northwest of the county.

“The projects will involve slowing down the speed the water flows to help increase the number of species living in these watercourses as well as to reduce the potential of flooding. We’ll be installing sustainable drainage schemes, protecting river banks, creating fish refuges, monitoring wildlife and creating wetlands.

“As well as partnering with schools, we’ll also run events in communities. It’s really important that we work with local residents to ensure that household goods like washing machines aren’t misconnected and we hope to help create rain gardens to soak up rainwater through soils rather than allow it to run off concrete and into drains.

“We’ll keep local communities abreast of what’s happening near them. As the work progresses, both local residents and local wildlife should start to benefit from the improvements.”

The funding has come from the Environment Agency’s Catchment Partnership Action Fund. The Trust will be supported in their work by Bromsgrove and Redditch District Council, the Environment Agency, North Worcester Water Management and the Severn Rivers Trust.

Bromsgrove

Water vole (c) Tom MarshallWork will aim to improve water quality through reducing diffuse pollution and the impact of manmade structures on wildlife. It will provide additional benefits such as flood relief and habitats for water voles.

The Trust will create a wetland area known as Sustainable Urban Drainage (SuDs) to clean run-off from surrounding roads before it enters the Battlefield Brook. The wetland will also help to store rainwater, helping to reduce flooding downstream.

Water voles have drastically declined in Worcestershire and Bromsgrove is home to a few isolated populations. The habitat created by this project will increase food and suitable banks for the voles to dig burrows, hopefully allowing their numbers and range to increase.

Further work with home-owners will help improve the banks along the Battlefield Brook that border people’s gardens.

Redditch

Pike's Pool conservation area (c) Lucy WoodAs part of a larger project by North Worcester Water Management to reinstate the former Ipsley Mill Stream, the project in Redditch will focus on making improvements to the River Arrow and Blacksoil’s Brook in Arrow Valley Country Park.

Pike’s Pool Conservation Area will be enhanced by the creation of a fish refuge that will create warm, still waters for fry to grow in and will also provide an area for fish to rest in when the river is fast flowing.

Not only will the project desilt the pool and reconnect it to the River Arrow but it will also open up the surrounding tree canopy by pollarding some of the trees.

Both the River Arrow and Blacksoils Brook have been canalised in the past, which has led to increased water flowing into and through the Arrow. The project aims to improve diversity of wildlife species in the stream as well to reduce the flow rate to help both wildlife and people.

The Teme Valley

Example of a vegetated swale and species-rich grassland (c) Lucy WoodThe River Teme is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a 2013 restoration plan commissioned by Natural England identified a number of areas where work could enhance the floodplains alongside the river.

The Trust will work with landowners on a number of sites to protect banks, create wetlands and possibly to revert arable land to floodplain grasslands.

The Trust hopes to work with landowners to reduce silt and fertilisers from entering the Teme; holding water on the land allowing it to infiltrate through soils and vegetation will help to cleanse it.

For more information about the project contact us.
 

Tagged with: Living Landscapes, River catchment