The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) is calling on people to give their views on plans for a wetland restoration project at Chimney Meadows and Duxford Old River.
The team at Chimney successfully applied for a Water Environment Grant (RDPE WEG) from the government to fund the project which will restore precious river and floodplain habitats and create more space for nature.
At present, during periods of low flow, fish migration routes and access to good quality spawning grounds around Chimney Meadows and through the Upper Thames Living Landscape are restricted by barriers in the river.
The team plans to modify the structure of two fords and to create a bypass channel around Shifford Weir to make it easier for fish to migrate and spawn. This will make fish populations more sustainable, contributing to a healthy river ecosystem and making them more resilient to environmental change.
Wetlands are home to hundreds of threatened plants, insects and animals. Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve is already a haven for rare wildlife. Restoring and creating new river, floodplain and bankside habitats will help these species to spread into new areas across the Upper Thames Living Landscape.
To help wildlife to thrive in the future, hazardous poplar trees near Duxford will be removed, retaining an area as bat habitat. The woodland will be restored with a mixture of native wet woodland species.
To enable a healthier and more active floodplain, we are investigating whether the connectivity between the river and its floodplain can be enhanced. The re-naturalisation of the floodplain on Duxford Old River means BBOWT land will retain water for longer to help us expand the habitats required by all the wetland species we want to encourage, including our emblematic curlew population. We will be designing our scheme to limit flooding on neighbouring land. Slowing the flow of the river may also help protect communities downstream from flooding and improve water quality in the river as a whole.
The online public consultation will be available to the public between 21st October and 8th November here: bbowt.org.uk/chimney-consultation
Members of the public can give their views as part of an online public consultation.
“We want people to find out more about the project and clearly understand the work that is being proposed,” says Lisa Lane, Upper Thames Living Landscape Manager for the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust.
“Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve, including Duxford Ford, is a well-loved area and understandably people want to know about any changes.”