Several of the team from RAB were recently invited by the River Restoration Centre to looking at some of the exciting and innovative projects they have been involved with in North Northamptonshire.
The restorative measures shown to us ranged from simple yet effective approaches to silt removal and vegetation management, to more complex projects involving channel realignment and floating ecosystems.
The trip involved visits to a number of locations including the Fotherinhay Backchannel, Barnwell Inner Backchannel, Slade Brook and Wellingborough Embankment. All of these sites make up elements of the Resilient River Project and more information on this can be found here River Nene Regional Park – Resilient River.
The floating ecosystems were a first for several of the team, and it was interesting to be able to get a close look at the designs which use stainless steel flanges to secure the individual components, plus steel weighted cables and steel rings fixed to sheet piles or masonry structures. This allows the ecosystems to float at the water level and therefore essentially self regulates during flood conditions.
Another interesting project is the realignment of Slade Brook in Kettering. Approximately 100 years ago, the banks of the brook were straightened to allow for the construction of a railway. The works disrupted the function of the watercourse resulting in its disconnection from the flood plain and resultant habitat deterioration. Over the decades these changes have also heighten the chance of flooding, and this happened in 2020 with nearby homes impacted.
The creation of a new alignment for Slade Brook has begun, featuring multiple meandering channels through the flood plain and connecting to the river Ise. The alignment will allow flow variation to cleanse the channel bed gravels of fine silt to make it suitable for fish spawning and increase the previously small angle of the confluence, subsequently reducing silt deposition and the risk of erosion.
A huge Thank You goes out to Project Lead Viktor Tzikas, as well as Alexandra Bryden and the rest of the River Restoration Centre team for a very informative and educational day!