The Environment Agency worked with the Wild Trout Trust to remove an old mill flood bank in Manthorpe. The bank was removed to create a new environment for wildlife such as otters, wetland birds, white-footed crayfish, and water voles.
In addition to removing the bank, the floodplain was lowered and ponds created. An area of native wildflowers will be planted next spring.
Lowland floodplain habitats have become scarce in the UK in recent years. The land was used extensively for agriculture, especially during WWII when it was needed for food production. Restoring these rare habitats can bring benefits to both people and local wildlife. These include wetlands whose flora captures carbon in the fight against climate change.
Matt Parr, who specializes in river restoration for the Lincolnshire Environment Agency, said:
It’s great that the project has allowed us to work with the river and restore it to its natural state. Plants and animals will begin to populate the habitat fairly quickly.
I hope the changes will encourage protected crayfish and water voles to return to the area in large numbers. Our recent checks recorded voles nearby, but the number of threatened crayfish was low. We want to increase the quantity and variety of species.
The creation of the ponds will contribute to the Environment Agency’s goal of reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 at the same time. The newly extended floodplain will help store water when river levels are high, complementing existing flood defenses protecting downstream areas.
Rivers also store nutrients and fine sediment that will flow to the floodplain when the river rises, cleaning it up. The work also helps provide lush grass for grazing sheep while providing a diverse habitat itself.
Rob Mungovan, Conservation Officer at the Wild Trout Trust said:
We are happy to work with the Environment Agency to help them restore the rivers. With the addition of gravel to the river, it now offers a much greater variety of habitats, including spawning grounds for wild river brown trout.
The project started in early October and ended in November.