Case study:Evenlode Catchment Project

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Location: 51° 51' 43", -1° 36' 18"
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Project overview

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Status In progress
Project web site
Themes Flood risk management, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Land use management - agriculture, Land use management - forestry, Monitoring, Water quality
Country England
Main contact forename Joanne
Main contact surname Old
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation Environment Agency
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations Wild Oxfordshire, West Oxfordshire District Council, Windrush AEC Ltd, Wychwood Project, Thames Water, Cotswolds Rivers Trust, Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, Forestry Commission, Sylva Foundation, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Natural England, Upper Thames Fisheries Consultative, Combe Mill Education Centre, Blenheim Estate
Parent multi-site project
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Project summary

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The River Evenlode, a headwater tributary in the Thames Basin (Map 1), is a flashy clay catchment with several small rural towns and villages prone to flooding. The Environment Agency is working with the Evenlode Catchment Partnership and local communities to develop and coordinate a 5-year project that integrates Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives with a Natural Flood Management (NFM) demonstration scheme. The natural solutions to manage floodwaters often require land management changes to slow and store run-off, which can have multiple benefits for water quality and habitat creation, and drive improvements in agricultural land management. In Year 1 of the project, a tributary catchment (16.3km2) trial in Littlestock Brook was set up with key landowners and the Parish Council. Opportunity mapping, site walkovers and modelling are being used to plan and implement a suite of NFM/WFD measures such as creating temporary water retention ponds in field corners, constructing bunds and scrapes to store more floodwater on grassland areas, installing woody material in-channel to create leaky dams, and land management changes including planting woodland in flood source areas and along flood pathways. A project officer employed by the Evenlode Catchment Partnership in 2017 will work with partners to implement NFM and WFD opportunities across the 180km2 Upper Evenlode catchment. A key objective is to ensure full integration with Thames Water’s phosphate reduction project and Natural England’s Catchment Sensitive Farming initiative if opportunity mapping directs the project to work in the same tributaries of the Evenlode. The results from this first NFM trial in the Thames Basin will contribute to the call nationally for evidence on the effectiveness of natural measures for flood risk in lowland catchments. Through an academic partnership a river level and turbidity monitoring network has been installed in Littlestock Brook. The plan is to engage the community to actively support this monitoring network. A key objective of this project is to determine whether multiple small-scale NFM interventions in these catchments can provide a material benefit to flood frequency and extent. For these natural solutions to be successful, it is crucial to empower the community in decision-making and for them to take ownership of the local solutions employed. Employing an NFM project officer to work with the Evenlode Catchment Partnership is fulfilling Defra's ambition to develop community driven, catchment-based solutions to environmental issues through the forum of catchment partnerships.

Monitoring surveys and results

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Catchment and subcatchment


Name Evenlode
WFD water body codes
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present No
Invasive species present No
Species of interest
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
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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)
Project started 2016
Works started
Works completed
Project completed
Total cost category
Total cost (k€) £480k
"£" is not declared as a valid unit of measurement for this property.
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources Thames RFCC local levy, Flood and Coastal Risk Management, Environment Agency Grant in Aid, Water Framework Directive, Parish Council, Cotswold River Trust, Landowner

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 Flood risk management
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor
Planform / Channel pattern
Other Runoff pathway management
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement)


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

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
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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

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Supplementary Information

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