Case study:River Wye Habitat Restoration Project

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Location: 51° 38' 16", -0° 46' 35"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Environmental flows and water resources, Fisheries, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Social benefits, Urban
Country England
Main contact forename Joshua
Main contact surname Robins
Main contact user ID User:JoshRRC
Contact organisation High Wycombe District Council; River Restoration Centre
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations Five Rivers Environmental Contracting Ltd (5R), Environment Agency, Wild Trout Trust, Chiltern Society, Chiltern Chalk Streams Project, Wycombe Wildlife Group, High Wycombe Society
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Project picture

Project summary

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This project is located on Desborough recreation grounds towards the west of Wycombe. The river Wye flows through council parkland which is surrounded by domestic and commercial developments and two busy roads. It is a popular site for dog walking and is used regularly by the local community and school. It's a highly valued recreational area.


  • Increased habitat diversity within the watercourse and along marginal zones to include the increase and diversity of nursery habitat.
  • Enhance local aquatic vegetation, benthic communities and fish populations helping to improve ecological status (as measured under the WFD).
  • Improve ecosystem services and aesthetic value for the local community and park users.


  • Remove and dispose of concrete revetment from the banks of selected sections of watercourse.
  • Remove and remediate a concrete fish-pass, which is largely ineffective, favor of a more naturalised channel.
  • Excavate a new meander in place of the fish-pass to lengthen the watercourse and decrease water velocity.
  • Re-grade and re-profile the river bed and banks in selected sections to reduce the width of over-wide channels and create a narrower self-cleansing system.
  • Define a more sinuous bank edge with coir rolls and brushwood faggots.
  • Install soft revetment along selected sections of the river helping to promote marginal growth and prevent bank erosion.
  • Restore and enhance marginal vegetation through planting of aquatic and marginal plants.
  • Engage with local schools and provide learning opportunities for pupils.

As well as these there were also a few smaller actions that the project looked to do. These included the use of environmentally friendly plant equipment a vibrating post driver which is more environmentally friendly than a regular post driver. Like most restoration projects there were also some constraints that had to be considered. These included flood risk, project waste disposal and maintaining park safety. In total the project cost £80,000 and took 25 days.

Monitoring surveys and results

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Image gallery

New flow deflectors (High Wycombe District Council)
Before and after image (High Wycombe District Council)
Before during and after image (High Wycombe District Council)

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Thames
River basin Thame and South Chilterns


River name Wye (Source to High Wycombe fire station)
Area category 10 - 100 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category 200 - 500 m
Maximum altitude (m) 265
265 m
0.265 km
26,500 cm
Dominant geology Calcareous
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Arable and Horticulture
Waterbody ID GB106039023890


WFD water body codes GB106039023890
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name Wye (Source to High Wycombe fire station)
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)
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 2014/06/01
Works started 2014/06/16
Works completed 2014/07/11
Project completed 2014/07/11
Total cost category
Total cost (k€) 80
80 k€
80,000 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources

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
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor
Planform / Channel pattern
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

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Monitoring documents

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Supplementary Information

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