Large-scale environmental project transforms river into a living ecosystem

Posted by ap507 at Dec 02, 2014 01:00 PM |
University and Welland Trust help restore natural beauty of River Welland in the East Midlands of England
Large-scale environmental project transforms river into a living ecosystem

Before reach 2 & After reach 2; Shots of the River Welland in Market Harborough after restoration

The natural beauty of the River Welland in Market Harborough has been restored, thanks to an environmental project led by the University and the Welland Rivers Trust (WRT) to turn the river from a near-lifeless ditch into a living ecosystem.

The focus of the ‘Welland for People and Wildlife’ project, for which Professor David Harper from the Department of Biology was lead scientist, was to energise the low flow of the river without affecting the high flow capacity of the water course.

During low flows, the river now has a much more varied pattern with faster flowing shallows and slower deep sections. This provides unique conditions to form a variety of different habitats and dissuades single species of plants from overgrowing and choking the channel. This will also have an overall positive impact on the water quality in the river.

This reintroduction of habitats previously missing through Market Harborough will encourage a greater diversity of aquatic animals, with more species of aquatic invertebrates, which will benefit insects, birds, and mammals further up the food chain. Already, birds like wagtails which used to be rarely-seen through the town, are foraging along the river edges for flies.

A public meeting will be held in Spring 2015 to discuss the restoration works and the WRT invites the community to attend and to give their opinions or pose any questions they may have about the restoration or the Trust.

The WRT can be contacted any time via their Facebook page or Twitter @WellandTrust

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