An ambitious project to revitalise a section of the River Adur at Twineham has just been completed - helping to reduce flood risk and giving a boost to fish and wildlife.
The health of the Upper Adur has suffered for several decades from a combination of dredging and the installation of weirs.
But improvement works were carried out following a project launched by the Environment Agency, the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust, a local landowner and Rampion Offshore Wind Ltd.
In the first scheme of its kind in the area, it was decided that the removal of four weirs would allow the river to restore itself and kickstart its return to a more natural system which would benefit a wide range of biodiversity, and give freedom for fish.
The work began at Twineham Place Farm in Twineham last September after funding was secured.
Work to remove the structures on the Adur and its tributary, the Herrings Stream, progressed quickly and the project finished ahead of schedule. This section of the Adur now provides unrestricted access for fish to 5km of river.
Further Funding of £15,000 was provided by Rampion Offshore Wind , owned by energy firm E.ON to provide other improvements.
These include backwaters to provide shelter for small fish in times of flood; the installation of ‘terraces’ to speed up flows; gravel in river sections to provide spawning grounds for fish and the planting of 350 trees in the floodplain to provide flood water storage and a wildlife habitat.
There are plans to plant a further 7,000 trees at the site in conjunction with the Forestry Commission.
Environment Agency spokesman Gareth Williams said: “Our rivers are the healthiest for 20 years, but we are doing even more to further improve water quality and biodiversity.
“We are delighted to have worked on such a successful and rewarding project with the Ouse & Adur River Trust, Rampion Offshore Wind Ltd and Mr Worsley at Twineham Place Farm. The work was only possible with help from a number of highly dedicated volunteers.
“The benefits to the river are already very clear to see and we will continue to monitor how this section of the Adur changes over time and the increase in fish and wildlife populations that will now thrive there.
“It’s been a great joint effort from everyone involved in order to breathe new life into this local watercourse.”
Peter King from the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust said: “This project has allowed us all to enhance a large section of the River Adur, increasing multi-species fish passage and adding sinuosity and flow dynamics to what was a deep, linear pond. Working in partnership has enabled us to maximise the benefits to the river system in the most cost effective way.”
Chris Tomlinson, E.ON development manager for the Rampion Wind Farm, said: “As part of our commitment to protecting and supporting the ecological habitats around the Rampion project, we’re pleased to have supported the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency in their work upgrading areas of the Adur River valley.
“The project has been a great success and has been a positive example of collaboration in support of the ecological habitats in the area around our project.”