Bringing Back the Bulbourne
BRINGING BACK THE BULBOURNE
Objective – River Restoration.
The purpose of the project is to restore a 1000m stretch of the River Bulbourne between Fishery Road and Two Waters Road. The river in this location has been heavily modified in the past. It is over-wide and lacking in features characteristic of a chalk stream.
The River Bulbourne is a chalk stream and under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 is listed as a priority habitat for restoration. It contributes significantly to the character of the open space around Boxmoor and is experienced and appreciated by the local community. It is a key asset to the landscape, but is heavily compromised by historic modifications.
The work comprises:
- Regrading the banks to narrow to the channel, create more sinuosity and create a shallower bank profile
- Installation of woody habitat features to help improve habitat and flow diversity
- Stabilisation and narrowing of river crossing points
- Reconnecting the floodplain and creation of floodplain scrapes (aka seasonal ponds)
- Bed raising where the channel has been over-deepened,
- Installation of fencing.
A later phase, currently planned for August, will focus on the creation of “scrapes”, also known as seasonal ponds.
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May 2017 Update:
We are delighted to see the changes made to the river are beginning to bed in. The banks have managed to regenerate, despite the unseasonably dry weather, which has improved the look of the river. Our river fly monitoring volunteer group have been extremely positive since the works have been carried out; they have seen a marked increase in the number, and range, of riverfly on the sites in which large scale works have been undertaken. The project returned the River Bulbourne to a healthier, and more natural, state. Below is a before & after photo taken by the Chilterns Chalk Stream Project, highlighting the major difference that a couple of months makes. The top photo shows the river just after the works had been completed, whilst the bottom shows how the river looks as of the end of April 2017. Not only is the difference significant, we can see that the river looks much more natural, with lightly graded, sloping banks and a narrower, more sinuous flow.