Over the past couple of years I have been documenting progress at a number of projects being carried out by the Environment Agency. The brief for the projects is to record all aspects involved in the successful completion of the work. This involves a vast number of requirements from issues relating to logistics, environmental and ecological impact, archeology, biodiversity and habitat as well as many other aspects. The projects have been in planning over a period of time, sometimes several years due to the historical importance of the locations involved.
It's been a very enlightening, educational and rewarding experience to be involved in these projects and I have been staggered as to all of the various concerns and the sheer amount of attention to detail involved in the planning of such projects, let alone the challenges with their completion.
During the next few weeks I will be revisiting these sites to record things one year down the line.
Once all final footage and stills have been collected I will finally be able to set about producing a video detailing the project from start to finish.
Today the topic of focus is the water meadow section of a major restoration project at the Cheriton chalk stream at Tichborne in Hampshire. Chalk streams are a highly valued part of the UK ecosystem providing habitat to a myriad of plant life as well as untold species of wildlife and freshwater fish.
This project was voted as one of the top 5 restoration projects of 2017 and received a Highly Commended Award at the River Restoration Centre's annual conference.
The image above taken at 120m during planning clearly shows the current direction of the river prior to commencement of works. One of the major sections involved in the project. You can also see the original flow of the river in the growth of the vegetation. The river was diverted over 200 years ago to feed 2 lakes. Over time the lakes have filled with harmful sediment which has been contaminating water downstream affecting wildlife as well as causing flooding problems on the meadow. The project was to cut off the flow to the lakes and drain them and divert the flow in a more manageable direction. The vegetation was used as a blueprint for deciding the proposed new route of the river, essentially returning the flow across the meadow to where it was before the river was diverted.
An archeologist checks test holes for possible evidence of artefacts of interest prior to the commencement of the project.
Ecologists check tussocks for hibernating animals along the proposed route of the river relocation prior to commencement of works, animals found are gently removed and relocated to a place of safety.
Boards are laid on a water meadow to allow the machines to work on the restoration project while causing minimal damage to the surroundings.
A dump truck uses the boards to remove excavated material from the dig site which would be subsequently used to fill the drained lakes.
The new river passage just prior to being joined to the existing river and flow being diverted.
At 120m one part of the new passage is visible as well as the river prior to being redirected.
To be continued..........