Wednesday 18 October 2017
The Project received the award at the Wild Trout Trust Conservation Awards in London this week in recognition of several years of hard work by a partnership including the Environment Agency, Box Moor Trust and the Chilterns Chalk Stream Project, that restored a 1 kilometre section of the R. Bulbourne at Box Moor near Hemel Hempstead.
The River Bulbourne at Box Moor had been extensively modified by man for a variety of purposes over the last 250 years including Milling, watercress growing and land drainage, which has led to it becoming degraded and unable to support the diversity of wildlife typically found in chalk streams.
The Project, originally proposed by the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project in 2010, restored the Bulbourne between the Grand Union Canal and Two Waters Road back to a more natural chalk stream, creating new wetland habitat and enhancing the river corridor for people and wildlife.
The Project was split into a number of phases starting with the removal of a weir in 2016 in the middle of the reach to enable fish passage and to re-energise flows, and the introduction of of woody habitat features by volunteers from the Box Moor Trust. The second and largest phase of the Project was carried out in January 2017. Funded and managed by the Environment Agency and carried out by Five Rivers Environmental Contracting, involved creating a narrower, more sinuous channel and introducing a number of features such as back waters, areas of wetland alongside the river and a kingfisher nest bank. The work also involved repairing fords and creating access points for the public as well as fencing (by the Box Moor Trust) of the river bank to protect the banks and enable marginal vegetation, so important for the health of chalk streams like the Bulbourne, to develop.
Allen Beechey, manager of the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project commented, "It is great to have been a part of bringing this fantastic project to fruition and I would like to congratulate the Environment Agency and the Box Moor Trust for a job really well done. It will be really fascinating to watch the restored river mature over the coming years"
Although the majority of the Project has now been completed, a final phase of work will be carried out in November to create a series of scrapes to further increase the amount of wetland habitat on the Moor.