Case study:Bringing Back the Bulbourne

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Location: 51° 44' 38", -0° 29' 10"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site http://www.boxmoortrust.org.uk/river-bulbourne/
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://http://www.boxmoortrust.org.uk/river-bulbourne/
Partner organisations The Box Moor Trust
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
projects
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Project summary

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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

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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

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Catchment and subcatchment



Site

Name
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
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Total cost (k€)
Benefit to cost ratio
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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
Monitoring



Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Abstraction
Hydromorphology Channel pattern/planform
Biology
Physico-chemical
Other reasons for the project


Measures

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


Monitoring

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
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Physico-chemical quality elements

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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

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Supplementary Information

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