We have completed our first gravel introduction in one of our local Lincolnshire Limestone Becks.
Why the work is needed
The Limestone Becks are very special watercourses as they have a unique habitat, rarely found in Eastern England. Pools and riffles should be a natural hydrological feature of a healthy limestone beck. Over time, silt build up from surrounding agricultural land along with pollution, over-abstraction and re-engineering of the once naturally meandering streams. The result straighter, deeper drainage channels has had a devastatingly negative impact on freshwater flora and fauna.
Working together with the Wild Trout Trust and the Environment Agency, areas the Limestone Becks could be improved have been identified and appropriate restoration techniques planned.
What we did
With a very helpful landowner our contractor Lions spent a week steadily introducing approximately 200 tonnes of limestone chip. These were installed along a 400m stretch of the beck, to create a carefully planned pool- riffle sequence.
This gravel introduction forms part of a larger project which will see 1.5km of lower Branston (Sandhill) Beck being restored. This will enhance the watercourse for both wildlife and the local community, the popular long distance walk the Viking Way, goes alongside the beck.
Whats the outcome
Deep, silty pools where the flow is slower, transition into riffles, where shallower water skims quickly over the surface of the gravel, provide ideal, diverse habitat. Here fish can feed, find shelter and spawn, and other stream dwellers including freshwater invertebrates can thrive.
Invertebrate surveys carried out by some of our dedicated Riverfly Monitoring Volunteers prior to the works yielded poor results. This will provide an excellent baseline against which to measure the success of the works.
We are thrilled with how well this project went and we can’t wait to get started on the next phase.