Case study:Devon Beaver Project and River Otter Beaver Trail

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Location: 50° 43' 14", -3° 47' 13"
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Project overview

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Status In progress
Project web site http://www.therrc.co.uk/sites/default/files/projects/15_devonbeavers.pdf
Themes Economic aspects, Flood risk management, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Land use management - agriculture, Land use management - forestry, Monitoring, Social benefits, Water quality
Country England
Main contact forename Peter
Main contact surname Burgess
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation Devon Wildlife Trust
Contact organisation web site http://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/
Partner organisations University of Exeter, Derek Gow Consultancy, Clinton Devon Estates, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
projects
No
Project picture

Project summary

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The Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) is a native species to Britain. After an absence of around 400 years, it is has returned to being wild in the British landscape at 2 core locations in Scotland and as a free living population on the River Otter in Devon (Map 1). Devon Wildlife Trust has also been running a beaver project in a securely fenced, private site in western Devon since 2011. The site provides an ideal location to carry out detailed scientific studies into the impacts of beavers on hydrology and water quality. This work complements the catchment-scale data being secured through the monitoring strategy applied to the free-living beavers that form part of the River Otter Beaver Trial in east Devon. This covers the entire 250km² of the Otter catchment containing 594km of watercourse. More information on both the Devon Beaver Project and the River Otter Beaver Trial can be found on the Devon Wildlife Trust's website (http://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/our-projects). Since their introduction into the enclosed site, the beavers have: • constructed 13 dams holding up to one million litres of additional water within ponds on the site • influenced an area of 1.8ha equating to 56 litres of surface water storage per m² of land (during storm events, peak flows have been 30% lower on average leaving the site than entering) • delayed the lag time between peak flow into the site and peak flow leaving the site (on average, one hour over a distance of 183m) • reduced peak flow even in saturated conditions and for the largest monitored flood events (due to the hydraulic roughness of the dams and felled trees, and the leaky nature of the dams) • resulted in significant and constant base flow from the site (even in periods of drought) through water storage and gentle release effect

Funding - In 2016, Devon Wildlife Trust launched a crowdfunding campaign to encourage the public to donate to the project in return for a series of unusual things such as beaver chips, guided walks or the appearance of the Nora the beaver mascot at an event.

Monitoring surveys and results

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Catchment and subcatchment



Site

Name Otter and Tamar
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Heavily modified water body No
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Protected species present No
Invasive species present No
Species of interest
Dominant hydrology
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Project background

Reach length directly affected (m)
Project started 2011
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Funding sources Natural England, Derek Gow Consultancy, Viridor Credits Environmental Company, Truell Charitable Foundation, Devon Wildlife Trust, Royal Society for Wildlife Trusts, Peter de Haan Charitable Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, University of Exeter, Public

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
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Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Flood risk management
Hydromorphology
Biology
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Measures

Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor
Planform / Channel pattern leaky woody dams
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Management interventions
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Monitoring

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Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

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Monitoring documents



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Supplementary Information

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