Research and analysis

Improving river habitats to support wildlife during low flows

A study into the effectiveness of restoration measures to improve river habitats during low flows.

Documents

Restoration measures to improve river habitats during low flows - summary

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Restoration measures to improve river habitats during low flows - report

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Restoration measures to improve river habitats during low flows - matrix

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Detail

Physical modification is one of the main reasons why many rivers do not support thriving wildlife. Engineering and other changes to natural river forms have damaged habitats, reducing populations of plants and animals and reducing their ability to cope with extreme low and high river flows. A particular concern is the effect of low flows during extended dry weather, which may occur more frequently as the climate changes.

To allow wildlife to recover and be resilient to a range of river conditions we need to understand how to restore the natural river processes and habitats that species depend on. This study reviewed the results from previous river restoration work and modelled additional measures such as embankment and weir removal at 5 case study sites. The study showed that the models can help to target the most effective restoration schemes and avoid costly measures that are unlikely to succeed.