Case study:Nine Chalk Rivers Project

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Location: 52° 52' 57", 0° 46' 58"
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Project overview

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Status In progress
Project web site
Themes Fisheries, Flood risk management, Habitat and biodiversity, Water quality
Country England
Main contact forename Jonah
Main contact surname Tosney
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation Norfolk Rivers Trust
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations private landowners, Environment Agency, Natural England, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, The University of East Anglia, RSPB, Wild Trout Trust, River Glaven Conservation Group, Norfolk Coast AONB
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Nine Chalk Rivers Project - Babingley Catchment, Nine Chalk Rivers Project - Burn Catchment, Nine Chalk Rivers Project - Gaywood Catchment, Nine Chalk Rivers Project - Glaven Catchment, Nine Chalk Rivers Project - Heacham Catchment, Nine Chalk Rivers Project - Hun Catchment, Nine Chalk Rivers Project - Ingol Catchment, Nine Chalk Rivers Project - Mun Catchment, Nine Chalk Rivers Project - Stiffkey Catchment
The nine rivers

Project summary

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The Nine Chalk Rivers project is a series of 16 restoration projects spread across nine unique chalk rivers flowing onto Norfolk’s north coast. The rivers face similar problems, most notably canalisation, disconnection from the floodplain, siltation, low flows and diffuse pollution. The projects are diverse, and include re-meandering, floodplain re-connection, silt and nutrient trapping and catchment management planning. Each project will improve the ecological health of the rivers and floodplains.

To deliver these projects, Norfolk Rivers Trust is working with landowners across Norfolk as well as the Environment Agency, Natural England, The University of East Anglia, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Norfolk Coast AONB, RSPB, The Wild Trout Trust, The River Glaven Conservation Group and various other partners.

Background to the project The Norfolk River's Trust, The Norfolk Coast Partnership and Norfolk County Council put in a project bid to the Environment Agency Catchment Restoration Fund to look at improving 9 of Norfolk's chalk rivers. £1.3M was awarded towards the end of 2012. This is one of the largest of the awarded Environment Agency projects in the Country. The project involves practical on the ground river restoration work so some physical changes to the rivers will be seen relatively quickly.

The partnership Steering Group (Norfolk Coast Partnership, Norfolk Rivers Trust, Norfolk County Council, Environment Agency and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust) along with statutory organisations and local communities will guide the Nine Chalk Rivers Project.

The rivers include the Glaven, Stiffkey, Babingley, Gaywood, Hun, Mun, Ingol, Heacham and Burn. To begin with work will start on the Glaven, Stiffkey, Babingley and Gaywood and then it is hoped that further funding can be attained for the other 5 smaller rivers.

Description of Works

  • Restoring hydrology – re-creating meanders in straightened rivers improves sediment transport and habitat diversity for fish and invertebrates, while re-connecting rivers to floodplains buffers flows, improves floodplain habitats for plants, insects and birds, prevents siltation and improves water quality.
  • Silt trapping – trapping silt close to its source prevents it from smothering riverine habitats and allows farmers to re-use nutrient rich top-soils.
  • Community Involvement – Norfolk Rivers Trust is involving communities in catchment management planning and project delivery through local conservation groups, community councils and stakeholder workshops.

How you can help The long term aim is to create local groups that will take over management when the grant cash runs out. Local community support is crucial to the understanding of these rivers, therefore we want your views of the rivers. Where and what are the problems? What would make your local river function better? What would you like to see happen and how would you like to be involved?

Find out more You can find regular updates as to what is happening on Twitter @9ChalkRivers or if you want to get involved you can contact the Community Involvement Officer by email by telephone on 01553 778024 or by mobile on 07768 031629 your ideas and thoughts are really valued so please do not hesitate to contact us.

Monitoring surveys and results

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What will success look like? Delivery of these projects will represent a significant step in the restoration of these nine unique rivers and will contribute towards improvements in Water Framework Directive classifications. Enabling the rivers to function naturally will improve habitat for plants and animals both in the river and on the floodplain, including trout, eels, native crayfish, water-voles, wet-meadow flora such as marsh marigold, and birds such as lapwings, snipe and avocet.

Lessons learnt

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Image gallery

Norfolk river.png

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Anglian
River basin North Norfolk


River name Stiffkey
Area category 10 - 100 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category 100 - 200 m
Maximum altitude (m) 114
114 m
0.114 km
11,400 cm
Dominant geology Calcareous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Arable and Horticulture
Waterbody ID GB105034055840

Other case studies in this subcatchment: Nine Chalk Rivers Project - Stiffkey Catchment


Name North norfolk
WFD water body codes
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name Glaven, Stiffkey, Gaywood, Babingley, Mun, Burn, Hun, Heacham, Ingol
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 Intensive agriculture (arable)
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)
Project started 2012/09/03
Works started
Works completed
Project completed 2015/04/01
Total cost category 1000 - 5000 k€
Total cost (k€) 1300
1,300 k€
1,300,000 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources Catchment Restoration Fund

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

Supplementary funding information

there will also be match funding

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure canalisation, disconnection from the floodplain, siltation, low flows and diffuse pollution.
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor Connection to wider floodplain, silt and nutrient trapping
Planform / Channel pattern Creation of meanders
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

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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
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Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

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Supplementary Information

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