Case study:River Nar Restoration Project

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Location: 52° 42' 9", 0° 38' 2"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Economic aspects, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Social benefits, Water quality
Country England
Main contact forename Mark
Main contact surname Watson
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation WWF-UK
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations Coca-Cola, Natural England, Environment Agency, Norfolk Rivers Drainage Board, Castle Acre Fishing Syndicate, West Acre Fishing Syndicate, private landowners, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Mileham Common Charity Trustees
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Large woody debris - River Nar, West Acre

Project summary

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Chalk streams are a globally rare and threatened habitat. The Nar is 42 km long, the second longest chalk stream in Norfolk and designated a SSSI. This river catchment is in a rural area with intensive arable farming being the main land use. The upper half of the river flows over chalk, whilst the lower half descends into drained fenland, making the river catchment particularly diverse in form. The river fails to meet the standards of the Water Framework Directive for fish abundance, quantity and dynamics of flow. Poor morphology and poor water quality underpin this failure and require addressing. This project aims to deliver three large-scale reach restorations, improving morphology, water quality, biodiversity and hence ecosystem function.

Community Involvement:
- Some maintenance of completed restored sections is carried out by local fisherman. This allows them to contribute to the health of the catchment. A sense of wider public ownership is fostered by river walks, talks and consultations. A River Nar Conservation Group has also been organised to encourage community involvement in the River Nar restoration project, where we have discussed ideas such as getting school children involved with monitoring fresh water invertebrates
- The Project Officer is working with farmers to help them put in place measures to retain soils and prevent run-off of nutrients and pesticides

Monitoring surveys and results

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Lessons learnt

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Image gallery

LWD - River Nar, West Acre
Island in the river bed - River Nar, West Acre
Sediment deposition - River Nar, West Acre
Sediment deposition and woody debri - River Nar, West Acre

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Anglian
River basin North West Norfolk


River name Nar to confl with Blackborough Drain
Area category 100 - 1000 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category Less than 100 m
Maximum altitude (m) 95
95 m
0.095 km
9,500 cm
Dominant geology Calcareous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Arable and Horticulture
Waterbody ID GB105033047791

Other case studies in this subcatchment: Castle Acre Rehabilitation Project, Nar SSSI project, Narborough Rehabilitation Project, River Nar, Mileham River Restoration Project, West Lexham Rehabilitation Project


Name River Nar
WFD water body codes GB105033047791
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name Nar to confl with Blackborough Drain
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation UK - Site of Special Scientific Interest
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 2012/05/01
Works started
Works completed
Project completed 2014/10/31
Total cost category 500 - 1000 k€
Total cost (k€) 965
965 k€
965,000 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources Defra 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

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Morphology, Water quality
Hydromorphology Quantity & dynamics of flow, Channel pattern/planform, Structure & condition of riparianzones
Biology Fish: Abundance, Macrophytes
Physico-chemical Nutrient concentrations
Other reasons for the project Social – reduced costs of cleaning water at point of abstraction, conservation of landscape and wildlife for recreation and enjoyment of all; Economic- more sustainable food pro-duction, improved trout fisheries.


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor Floodplain reconnection
Planform / Channel pattern Re-meandering, Channel naturalisation
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement) Community involvement, Heritage walks, Community consultation, Engagement with schools
Other Work with farmers and land managers, Local support, Monitoring and survey projects


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
Fish No Yes No No No Awaiting results

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

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Supplementary Information

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