- 12th August 2016
- Posted by: Joanne Woodhouse
- Category: Projects
The Northumberland Rivers Trust, the Environment Agency and the Blagdon Estate want to improve the ecological quality of the River Blyth and its tributary the Pont, through a naturalisation scheme at Pont Ends.
To look at the feasibility of adapting canalised reaches to improve fish migration and create habitat.
The study presented many ecological challenges:
- Biosecurity measures were stringent for all site work as this would affect the habitats
- Cross contamination between catchments – Signal Crayfish are prevalent in the Blyth catchment and carry the crayfish plague, which is a threat to the native White-Clawed Crayfish, found in the Wansbeck catchment. Wansbeck is a nationally important river for our native crayfish so any cross contamination between the two would be catastrophic.
- Presence of Great Crested Newts – The innovative eDNA survey technique was used to determine if any Great Crested Newts were present in the ponds in the paleochannels. The results came back negative, helping to reduce any potential ecological conflicts in channel restoration.
We ran a stakeholder workshop which shortlisted options for the scheme, the local estate was actively involved with these and the feasibility study. The favoured options were then assessed using hydraulic modelling and outline engineering costs were derived.
The Northumberland Rivers Trust is now considering the outcomes of the feasibility study and we look forward to the next phase of this work.
For more information: Dorian Latham.