BART are proud to announce that we are extending the ‘Our Wonderful Wellow’ project to include the area of river by Stoney Littleton, Wiltshire. This project will involve a program of coppicing to let light into the currently overshaded river channel, which is affecting the productivity of the river. Opening up views into the river which will also increase public access and enjoyment, and make spotting issues, such as pollution events, much easier.
The wood taken from the coppicing will be used to construct brushwood berms and flow deflectors in the channel, which will increase the river flow speed, especially in low summer flow. The wooden structures will concentrate the flow helping to scour sediment off the gravels on the riverbed. The current overwidened and overstraightened channel allows sediment to accumulate on the riverbed gravel, which smothers fish eggs, invertebrates and plants. The sediment will collect on the structures creating areas of slower flow, increasing habitat diversity.
These berms will also act as access points to improve fishing for members of the Wellow Fly Fishers. Improving access for anglers is important as they act as ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground, reporting water quality and habitat issues. We will also carry out electrofishing surveys to assess existing fish populations, as well as macro-invertebrate surveys. Data collected from these surveys will be used as part of a longer term plan that BART aims to put together for the Wellow Brook, in conjunction with the Wild Trout Trust, to ensure a joined up approach to improving the river corridor.
Thanks to the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership for funding this project.