During November 2019, BART’s operations team delivered the initial phase of practical habitat improvements on the Congresbury Yeo, directly downstream of Bristol Water’s Blagdon Lake spillway. BART led a team of contractors to carry out sensitive tree works along the banks below the spillway, thinning out the densely vegetated corridor to allow speckled light to reach the river and encourage in-channel macrophyte growth.
BART will be returning to site to install brushwood mattresses, to create channel diversity where the river is unnaturally wide below the spillway. The structures will capture fine sediment to help sustain clean river bed gravels – an important habitat for wildlife. The woody materials used to create the in-stream structures will be constructed from the harvested material from previous tree works.
BART have also begun identifying opportunities for the wider catchment including river restoration and nature based solutions to deliver multiple benefits to wildlife and the local communities. Prior to the Covid 19 outbreak, BART’s Project Manager Lauren had been surveying the catchment and mapping data on an online GIS system. Lauren will resume this work when the current episode is over BART is currently seeking funding to deliver this wider work. In the meantime Lauren has created an “Opportunities” report with recommended improvements for the areas of the catchment surveyed. We look forward to providing further updates once we are able to deliver the rest of the project safely.