Salix enabled the restoration of wetlands and chalk stream habitat whilst bypassing a weir which was a listed heritage feature
Two large weirs were impounding large sections of the River Beane, a chalk stream. Salix were appointed as principle contractor to create 1.5km of bypass channels via Affinity Water’s National Environment Programme framework.
The driver for the project was to improve ecological, hydromorphological and geomorphological processes.
River Beane is failing to meet Good Ecological Status under the Water Framework Directive. The River Beane is a chalk stream, which are globally recognised for their rarity.
Chalk streams are naturally very biodiverse, offering habitats to a wide range of species from macroinvertebrates to otter. However, the two weirs were having a detrimental impact on the natural function of the River Beane.
Weirs act as a physical barrier on watercourses which cause a significant number of issues for the natural processes. Weirs impound water, limiting sediment transport downstream and subsequently reducing the water quality behind the weir.
Weirs are also impassable to fish, which is particularly problematic salmonid species which instinctively swim upstream to spawn or reproduce.
What was the solution
Under the National Environment Programme, Affinity Water and the Environment Agency identified an opportunity to improve over 1.5km of watercourse through creating two bypass channels. Salix were appointed as principle contractor to provide a low carbon, nature-based solution.
Two bypass channels were constructed to improve the connectivity of the river. Pools, riffles and glides were formed to help initiate natural processes. Both weirs and the broadwater are listed, meaning bypass channels provided not only the best solution for the river, but preserved the heritage value. This solution has seen improvements to biodiversity as well as significant improvement in river function.
LiDAR data indicated that the River Beane had historically meandered through nearby pastureland. The Estate agreed to rearrange land use to accommodate for the restoration project, enabling the creation of the bypass channel whilst also retaining the heritage value of the weirs and broadwater.
What was the outcome
The site is being surveyed over the next 5 years to monitor its success, however the results from Phase 1 are already showing positive results, with the local Riverfly Group reporting 80% of species expected in a chalk stream.
Update 2022 – Water Voles have been released back in the River Beane at Woodhall Park after an absence of more than 20 years.
We invited Salix to re-landscape the watercourse through a design and build project. The works to the watercourse were completed within two weeks of starting on site and, despite a number of prolonged heavy rain events both during and after the works, the pre-established coir rolls and pallets all began putting on new growth within a matter of days providing the watercourse with instant channel vegetation and protection to the toe of the banks. The VMax reinforcement used to stabilise the slopes has also prevented any erosion to the sandy soil beneath and has allowed the rapid establishment of grass which wouldn’t have otherwise been possible.South Ribble Council
Your staff are always friendly, knowledgeable and helpful and we have always been pleased with the service and the quality of the wetland plants and planting services. Technical knowledge on erosion control is also excellent. Keep up the good work!Living Water Ecosystems Ltd
Excellent overall performance – very approachable and offered a good sustainable solutions to rectify a significant erosion scour to the river foreshore without comprising the existing flood defence. Carried out work to agreed timescale and budget. Certainly would value their future input.Environment Agency, Leeds
HydraCX gave an immediate impression the embankment was grassed, making it more visually pleasing to our travelling customers. The rapidity of grass growth was exceptional and it added additional strength to the slope surface.Network Rail
We have worked with Salix on a number of projects throughout East Anglia over the last 6 years, and we have always found them to be highly professional and competent. We have used their services as suppliers of quality wetland plants, with a traceable provenance, and as contractors to both supply and plant the wetland plants. In addition we have always relied on the technical advice and knowledge of David Holland, in particular, to help answer queries from our clients regarding wetland planting schemes we have been involved in, this is an added value part of their service, for which we are grateful.UPM Tilhill
Atkins has worked with Salix on a number of projects, collaborating on design concept, trialling and implementation. We have found their experience valuable in delivering cost effective and environmentally functional solutions.Atkins
We used HydraCX for the first time on a Network Rail project in Chipping Campden. We wanted to establish vegetation growth as quickly as possible on a slope with poor ground conditions without the need for importing topsoil due to possession time constraints. HydraCX provided an excellent growing medium for rapid germination.Carillion Rail