Over 560m of perched channel in Soham, Cambs was leaking and needed repair. The reach was populated by water vole so a sensitive approach was required in order to create a new habitat as soon as possible.
Salix offered a design and build solution that addressed all the ecological and engineering concerns, and were pleased to be awarded the contract by the Environment Agency on technical and commercial merit.
This combination of techniques was designed to create the ideal water vole habitat, and we are delighted to report that water voles have been spotted, we have named one of them “Alix” and hope to report on the progress of these intriguing creatures and the continued development of their new habitat.
Whilst working to dredge the channel and install a new liner, we resolved soil slippage problems on the steep embankments by using fixing a woven loop geotextile over the liner together with our brushwood faggots.
Dredged material was used on the channel banks resulting in no imported topsoil. The banks were then further reinforced against erosion by our HydraCX product.
HydraCX is an hydraulically applied erosion control material which promotes vigorous vegetation growth thus preventing erosion whilst long term grass cover is established.
At water level, pre-established coir rolls were incorporated into the loop geotextile. These coir rolls were manufactured by Salix and contained plant species that were present on site further down the reach, such as Carex, Glyceria and Phalaris.
As a result of the success of this project, Salix now manufacture and grow water vole friendly marginal plants in coir pallets at our nursery in Norfolk – specifically for water vole projects where rapid habitat creation is essential.