Simon's Blog - Restoring the Stour

The Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership met recently. I always look forward to these meetings where 26 organisations and guests come together to learn from each other and plan future projects. This work goes a long way to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of one of England’s outstanding landscapes.

At the meeting we heard of the fantastic work being undertaken by the River Stour Enhancement Project. This is a joint initiative between the Environment Agency and the AONB team. The work seeks to improve the environmental quality of the river as measured by the Water Framework Directive.

Although the driver for this project is technical it does not take an expert to understand that it is a force for good for the environment. Nearly 5,000 trees have been planted this winter. These trees will provide vital wildlife habitat, help maintain cooler water temperatures in the summer (vital for fish and other aquatic species) and provide landscape enhancements to a valley so many people value highly.

The project has also overseen the construction of pools, riffles and back waters. These features are all important in improving the chemical composition of the water as well as providing important wildlife habitat. The work is done under strict a licensing regime with checks and balances in the system to ensure the environmental projects do not impact upon the flood risk, water transfer and navigation rights on certain stretches of the river.

The final part of the project deals with the non-native invasive plants. In recent years there has been an increase in these plants, that in some cases such as Giant Hogweed can be injurious to human health and put other flora at risk.

This is just one example of the fabulous work many individuals, organisations and communities do in the area to conserve and enhance natural beauty in the area and help wildlife thrive and people enjoy the area.

If you want to find out more about what is happening in the AONB and Stour Valley, book on to our Forum to be held on 15 June. Details on the website.

First published in the East Anglian Daily Times on 28 May 2018

By Cathy Smith on July 12th, 2018

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