A river has been given a new lease of life thanks to a restoration project involving the Environment Agency, Tattenhall Wildlife Group and the Bolesworth Estate.
The scheme, along Mill Brook in Tattenhall , has created habitats for wildlife to thrive and introduced innovative “natural flood management” techniques.
In November 2000, water from Mill Brook flooded a number of homes and businesses in the village.
While flood risk to the village cannot be prevented entirely, it is hoped this habitat creation scheme will help reduce the likelihood of flooding to properties by increasing the flood water storage area upstream and slow the flow of the river.
The project was led by the Environment Agency and was completed in March.
The North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee funded the scheme, which was designed by the Environment Agency’s Flood Risk Management and Fisheries, Biodiversity and Geomorphology teams.
The engineering works were carried out by the Environment Agency’s operations team, based at Winsford .
Landowners the Bolesworth Estate and their tenant farmer James Harrison provided the land and fencing materials while the Tattenhall Wildlife Group and local community assisted with installing woody debris dams to moderate the flow of the water.
The Environment Agency’s Lee Swift, a geomorphologist who helped design the scheme, said: “The river restoration at Tattenhall has improved habitat for wildlife and has also increased the floodwater storage area upstream. Overall, the scheme has provided multiple benefits for people and wildlife.”
The river was straightened from east to west hundreds of years ago for the water mill and to increase the amount of land available for agriculture.
However, this adversely affected wildlife habitats and accelerated river flows, increasing flood risk downstream.
Changes introduced by the project include:
Excavating and lowering the land to the north and south of Mill Brook to create an improved flood storage area and wildlife habitat
Setting back the artificial embankment next to the river to improve floodplain connectivity
Installing woody debris dams, using logs and branches, to slow the flow of the river and encourage floodwater on to the floodplain more often but also improve the habitat for fish and other wildlife.
Andrew Hull from Tattenhall Wildlife Group said: “This project is an excellent example of partnership working and exemplifies ways in which protecting our village from future flood risk can have a positive impact upon local biodiversity.”
Bolesworth estate manager Matthew Morris agreed: “We are delighted to be able to assist with this innovative scheme to reduce flood risk in Tattenhall. This has been an excellent example of what can be achieved when volunteers, agencies, farmers and land owners work together. The additional habitat created is an additional benefit for wildlife at a local level.”
For advice on river management call the Environment Agency’s national customer contact centre on 03708 506506.
For advice on flood risk and to sign up for flood warnings please call 0345 988 1188.