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How can you keep your river healthy and clean? Part 5: Soil management and loss

In a series of short articles, we will provide advice on helping to maintain the health of our globally rare chalk streams and lowland rivers in Norfolk. In times of drought and hot weather, this is especially important because of the wildlife our rivers support; endangered white-clawed crayfish, brown trout, eels, and water voles are just a few of the iconic species at risk in Norfolk – and you can do your bit to help protect them!

Soil management and loss:

Excess sediment in rivers has a hugely damaging impact to freshwater habitats; Silt from road verges and field erosion can smother the gravels which fish and invertebrates require to spawn. The silt can carry nutrients (such as fertilisers) and pollutants (such as pesticides, oil and brake dust) into the water, where they are released. This is hugely damaging to the fragile balance of these habitats, and can lead to algal blooms that result in dominant weeds out-competing the aquatic plants.

Allowing a wide ‘buffer’ of long grasses, trees and shrubs along the riverbank will let water filter through, while preventing silt from reaching the stream. These pollution events can be further prevented by blocking un-used field gateways where silt can wash out. Furthermore, rather than digging grips to drain rainwater directly into the river, instead re-direct this water into a dead-end ditch or silt trap. This will ‘slow the flow’ and allow the water to infiltrate into the ground, while capturing the high nutrient silt – which can then be returned to fields.

Get in touch:

If you are a landowner with riparian land and would like to talk to us about restoration and rewilding, please do get in touch with us at Norfolk Rivers Trust. We offer a wide range of services including surveys, restoration and management advice.

We also deliver the Water Sensitive Farming Initiative, which provides free and confidential advice, along with bespoke grant funding opportunities. Email [email protected]



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