Stanford Meadows river restoration feasibility assessment and concept design

Location:  Eastleigh, Hampshire                                                         Client: Environment Agency

Challenge 

Our Geomorphology, Ecology and Fisheries teams worked alongside the Environment Agency (EA) to undertake a feasibility assessment and concept design for the restoration and enhancement of chalk stream habitats on the River Itchen in Eastleigh, Hampshire.   

 Solution 

The project involved collaborative working between our Geomorphology, Ecology and Fisheries teams, as well as with the EA and site fisheries manager. We ensured that the use of the site as a mixed fishery was not compromised, and that the differing requirements of the EA and the fisheries manager were carefully managed. 

We produced baseline condition assessment reports, based on desk study research and information gained during a site walkover. An historic trend analysis was undertaken to ascertain both natural and artificial changes which have taken place historically through the study reach. During the site walkover, we identified unmodified, ‘analogue’ channel reaches upstream and downstream of the site, to inform the development of an appropriate concept design.  

Four concept designs were developed for consideration, ranging from minor modifications such as marginal vegetation planting, to substantial unconstrained measures allowing the channel to return to its natural migratory form. We subsequently undertook an options appraisal to score the proposals based on a range of factors such as predicted environmental benefit, landscape and visual impact, the feasibility of engineering construction and overall cost.   

A series of stakeholder meetings led to a consensus on the preferred design, providing an appropriate balance between habitat and morphological enhancement and retention of the site as a mixed fishery. We produced an action plan for the client of next steps required for design progression, as part of the final reporting. 

Benefit

The primary objectives of the restoration scheme are to improve the habitat space and refuge areas for adult and juvenile fish species within the study reach, as well as enhancing the chalk stream plant, fish and macroinvertebrate communities. The key project aim is to aid the EA in achieving the Water Framework Directive (WFD) objectives for the River Itchen, as well as the Salmon Action Plan and Biodiversity 2020 objectives. 

Want to know more?

For more information about the Stanford Meadows river restoration feasibility project, email Matthew Hemsworth.

You can also find out more about river restoration on our Catchment and River Restoration webpages.



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