River Witham habitat enhancement project completed in Grantham
Lincolnshire Rivers Trust have completed a habitat enhancement project in the River Witham at Dysart Park in Grantham.
The project, postponed from last autumn by unusually high rainfall, was supported by the National Lottery fund.
Covid-19 prevented the Trust's volunteers from carrying out the work, so it was down to Lions Environmental Contractors to deliver the project.
All of the necessary permits were secured, and ecological surveys carried out in advance, keeping wildlife disturbance down to a minimum.
With lots of trees growing on the river bank and shading the water course, they decided to employ a technique called tree hinging for this project.
This used the natural materials that were already abundant in the area and at the same time opened up the canopy to let some light through to the watercourse.
Trees were partially felled and bent around to form the framework for the berms low level shelves in the water.
The berms not only provide shelter for fish and other river dwellers, but also help to recreate the ‘wiggle’ that, would occur naturally in a river. This action allows pools of deeper, calmer water as well as shallow water riffles enabling more natural river processes. The faster flowing water scours the riverbed, cleaning silt from the gravel and making it better for spawning fish.
In a statement, the River Trust said: "Not only are we pleased with the results, it seems the local residents are also happy to have a little more light and a much better view of the river.
"This stretch will contribute to the wider South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) Witham/Slea Blue Green Corridor Project.
"Over time it will improve the area for wildlife, and invertebrate surveys carried before the project started will give us a benchmark for future comparisons.
"A big thank you must go out to SKDC for their support, Nick and Laura at Lions Environmental and the Environment Agency for their expert advice."