News & Events

Government not the only institution wanting to break up the banks Posted: 05/05/2010

Wicker bank removal

Following crisis banks broken up to reduce risk. Sound familiar? Well, it's not quite the story we have heard so much about in the last couple of years but it's the same sequence of events. Following the flooding crisis in 2007, the EA has in response acted to clear debris and mud banks from the River Don (at the Wicker pictured) in order to reduce future flooding risk. Also like government intervention in response to the financial crisis, there is a lot of uncertainty on what the impact of this clearance work will be. The removed mud banks are the result of natural deposition as the river creates a stable channel. How long will it take for the new unstable channel to re-deposit the mud banks? These sediment banks are habitats with frequent natural disturbance, and a diverse community of plants. Will such a rich plant community return after such extreme disturbance, and after how long? The same question applies to the mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies and other invertebrates that lived in the river. Bird species such as kingfishers and blue tits used the riverside trees as cover, as habitat to forage, and as vantage points. Will they be lost now the trees have been cleared, and how long will it take for them to grow back. It is important that these questions are answered so that the trade offs made when managing rivers can be fully understood.

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