An exciting project is underway to improve a Northamptonshire river for people and wildlife.
The Environment Agency is working with four other organisations on the £48,000 project to improve habitats on the river Nene at Duston Mill on the southern outskirts of Northampton.
Work will include altering the channel to improve habitats and create more diverse flows that will benefit fish, aquatic invertebrates and other wildlife.
Rob Pitkin, Fisheries and Biodiversity Technical Officer at the Environment Agency, said: “Biological monitoring showed that the river and its wildlife had been affected by low flows. Our project will help to improve the river for wildlife and people who live nearby or use the Wildlife Trust nature reserves and public space that can be found close by.
“It will also help the river to cope better with any future droughts and with climate change and we are excited to be working with our partners to improve the Duston Mill channel.”
The project is being carried out in partnership with the River Nene Regional Park, The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire, the River Restoration Centre and Northampton Borough Council.
Simon Whitton, River Nene Restoration Advisor for the Nene Valley Nature Improvement Area (NIA), said: “It’s brilliant that this demonstration project can showcase habitat enhancement techniques in an urban area. Along with Duston, we’re now looking for more sites on the Nene for enhancement projects”.
The Duston Mill project will help meet the objectives of the River Nene Water Framework Directive (WFD) pilot catchment and Nene Valley NIA.
The WFD requires the river Nene at Duston Mill to reach good ecological potential.
Work on the project started this week (18th September) and will take approximately four weeks to complete.
The Duston Mill project is just one example of how Northampton’s rivers are being improved. Now, people are being asked to help shape the future of rivers such as the Duston Mill Channel through the Environment Agency’s Challenges & Choices consultation.
Challenges and Choices aims to tackle the challenges facing rivers and lakes and the Environment Agency wants people in Northamptonshire to take the opportunity to have their say on what should be done to improve them.
Challenges & Choices runs until 22 December and is open to everyone, from businesses to utility companies to wildlife groups and individuals. People can have their say online at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/challengesandchoices, by email, fax or letter. Links to the consultation can also be found on Twitter #valuingwater #loveyourriver and the Environment Agency’s Facebook pages.