Case study:Bringing Back the Bulbourne

Jump to: navigation, search
(0 votes)

To discuss or comment on this case study, please use the discussion page.

Location: 51° 44' 38", -0° 29' 10"
Edit location
Loading map...
Left click to look around in the map, and use the wheel of your mouse to zoom in and out.

Project overview

Edit project overview
Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Fisheries, Habitat and biodiversity, Land use management - agriculture, Monitoring, Social benefits, Water quality
Country England
Main contact forename Liam
Main contact surname Dennis
Main contact user ID User:Liamd
Contact organisation Environment Agency
Contact organisation web site http://
Partner organisations The Box Moor Trust
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Project picture

Project summary

Edit project overview to modify the project summary.

The River Bulbourne is a chalk stream that has been severely impacted by historic alterations, over-abstraction and its interaction with the Grand Union Canal. The one kilometre section is owned by the Box Moor Trust and is common land open to the public.

Prior to this project, the River Bulbourne was straight, over-wide and silty. Due to high banks and old dredging bunds, the river was disconnected from its floodplain and had little marginal habitat. Excessive grazing pressure resulted in bank erosion and little riparian vegetation. A large weir prevented fish passage and also caused an impoundment upstream further degrading the habitat.

The chalk stream characteristics had been almost completely lost. What should have been a beautiful gravelly stream meandering through rich, biodiverse floodplain, was actually a silty homogeneous channel with little habitat to provide home to wildlife.

Monitoring surveys and results

Edit project overview to modify the Monitoring survey and results.

We have undertaken an integrated approach to monitoring and evaluation using complementary surveys incorporating professionals, academics and citizen scientists.

Electrofishing surveys have been conducted prior to delivery phase and post project. Further surveys will be carried out in future years to track population changes.

A group of volunteers regularly undertake Riverfly monitoring to help us understand the changes to the health of the river’s invertebrate populations. We worked with academics from Queen Mary University of London to apply the new Modular River Survey to assess changes in habitat composition as a result of the restoration work. This was complemented by localised detailed habitat assessments, physical biotope mapping and a river corridor survey undertaken by the Environment Agency. Sediment sampling was carried out and methods employed to minimize the introduction of pollutants present in the bank material into the river. We also used real-time monitoring sondes to demonstrate that the water quality of the river remained acceptable throughout the main phase of works. The results will provide a case study to help better inform similar schemes in future.

Lessons learnt

This case study hasn’t got any lessons learnt, you can add some by editing the project overview.

Image gallery


Catchment and subcatchment


WFD water body codes
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present
Invasive species present
Species of interest
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s)
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)

Project background

Reach length directly affected (m) 1000
1,000 m
1 km
100,000 cm
Project started 2013/06/01
Works started
Works completed
Project completed
Total cost category
Total cost (k€)
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design
Stakeholder engagement and communication
Works and works supervision
Post-project management and maintenance

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Abstraction
Hydromorphology Channel pattern/planform
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications Re-grading, Bed raising
Floodplain / River corridor Scrapes, Floodplain reconnection
Planform / Channel pattern Introducing large woody debris, Channel narrowing
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement) Citizen participation in the restoration project
Other Survey work, Fish surveys


Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Biological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Physico-chemical quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

Link Description

Supplementary Information

Edit Supplementary Information