The River Worfe Catchment Restoration Project was funded through DEFRAs Catchment Restoration Fund (CRF), with the aim to improve the 9 waterbodies that comprise the catchment to a better Ecological Status. The project was over at the end of March 2015 along with many other CRF projects across the country. It was a challenging project overall, though the Worfe catchment has benefited from a wide variety of improvements, encompassing many different aspects of countryside management.
Due to a lack of detailed studies and information, the first few months of the project were focussed on data collection and analysis. A full catchment-scale walkover survey was completed, which identified numerous factors contributing to the failing status of the Worfe, including pollution inputs, barriers to fish migration and bank failures, plus many more. Farms and challenging sites were then targeted, with expert advice provided where it was needed, and physical works carried out to help improve the river system and surrounding environment and businesses.
Large focal points within the catchment are the Lower Worfe, the Wesley Brook, and the Burlington Brook where large-scale restoration projects were completed in 2014. One such project in the Lower Worfe successfully greatly improved the habitat, bank stability, water quality and flow along a ~3 mile stretch of the river.
Smaller project are were also undertaken within the catchment, with individual plots of land along many of the brooks being fenced, trees being coppiced and bank revetments being installed.
Weirs and other barriers were of major concern within the catchment as they greatly inhibited fish passage through the main channels to the headwaters. Barrier appraisals were carried out and the resulting significant barriers were installed with easements to help fish migration upstream into the headwaters to their natural spawning grounds. The first significant barrier to within the catchment was at Burcote, this was installed with a full fish and Eel pass, which has now opened up miles of watercourse to migrating fish. Please see the recent E-Newsletter (Issue 24) for the latest on the Burcote Weir.
The table here indicates the amount of work completed throughout the River Worfe Catchment between 2013 and 2015, and shows the diverse nature of what the project entailed. A large proportion involved engagement with farmers and large estate owners, and the work carried out as a result of these meetings and any advise given, improved the way farming practices affect the watercourses and the farms produce.
Please see the final project report below for more information.