The River Welland is a typical lowland river flowing through the East Midlands to the Wash. As with many rivers, it has been highly manipulated in the past through flood management, straightening and water abstraction.
Ecology Link, in conjunction with the Environment Agency, Welland Rivers Trust and local landowners, have entered into a number of river restoration programmes to enhance riparian biodiversity and fisheries.
A section of the River Welland identified for restoration was surveyed, visually assessing the condition of the river. This has provided baseline data and identified clear restoration guidance to increase the biodiversity and fish populations along the riverine habitat.
The scheme included installing flow deflectors. These create different depths within the gravel bed of the river. Deadwood tree limbs were installed to vary the water movement, particularly during low flows in the summer. These works will help to disperse silt, improve flow and restore trout spawning habitats.
In some areas the channel was narrowed using bundles of wood and coir rolls. Limestone rock was used to protect and support the eroding banks from high winter flows. The exclusion of livestock from the banks will also reduce erosion and improve bankside vegetation. Cattle drinkers are being installed to control livestock access to the river.
The River Welland improvement project has been funded by the Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs to support the Water Framework Directive.