River Mease Catchment Project
TRT has recently completed a three year project delivering a wide range of improvements for the River Mease. Now the first round of work is complete, many stretches of the river are starting to recover from the historical dredging and drainage works carried out for flood management. Natural processes are creating gravel beds and areas for plants, spurred on by the capital works. The river is better connected to its floodplain, to encourage infiltration and more wetland habitats, as well as reducing its flashiness downstream. Silt and soil are deposited in the floodplain, and as features in the channel where they can trap nutrients and develop as habitat for invertebrates and birds.
The Environment Agency has provided funding for river restoration schemes to improve river habitat and function on the River Mease and its tributaries. In addition, the Developer Contribution Scheme (DCS), a scheme into which developers pay a direct contribution to restoring and maintaining water quality in the Mease to offset the additional phosphate contributions of development in the catchment, funds the delivery of phosphate reduction activities and schemes across the catchment.
Throughout the last year (2021) a video was made of the work as it was progressing.
Watch the short video (2 minutes)
Or, you may prefer to watch the longer video with more details (20 minutes)
The first year was spent primarily talking to landowners and working up schemes. 2020 saw the delivery of the first set of capital works. These were both for River Restoration and to tackle diffuse pollution. The report Mease River Restoration end of year report 2020_21 summarises the work delivered through the restoration project. This work would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of a wide range of landowners, stakeholders and contractors.
Monitoring and evaluating the schemes delivered is ongoing.
The River Mease is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for its valuable community of fish species and aquatic plants. The site is currently failing to achieve good ecological status primarily due to poor water quality because of high phosphate levels, which lead to damaging environments for plants and animals and can harm the very species for which the site is under protection. In addition, historic modifications to the river including over-deepening, land-use change and weir construction, has led to a reduction in the diversity of river habitats and processes, which are important for the designated species as well as for the river’s resilience and ability to cope with changes to the environment, such as higher nutrient levels and climate change.
The River Mease has its own dedicated website. Details of these projects and others from the Mease website are available to view here.