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Merry Christmas from the WSF team!

2020, clearly a year we will never forget, and unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. However, it’s Christmas, and we would like to share some optimistic news with you all!

Despite grappling with a pandemic, our work to improve the quality and resilience of the water environment has continued regardless, and it’s been a busy, varied and stimulating one!

Here are some of our highlights:

  • It may seem a long time ago with everything that’s happened, but we mustn’t forget the extreme weather events of early 2020 – thanks to Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis, in addition to a spring drought! This necessitated an intervention at a farm in North Norfolk, which had experienced the full brunt of these abnormal – but sadly, increasingly frequent – weather events. In partnership with FWAG and the Norfolk Rivers Internal Drainage Board, we supported the farm in their efforts to improve resilience. This included the planting of 430m of new hedgerows using native species; sowing cover crops to improve soil organic matter, structure, and resistance to soil erosion; and creating new ditches and ponds to capture surface run-off and slow the flow of water. Find out more here.
  • At the same time, further “slow the flow” work was implemented at various farms to protect several of the waterbodies that form the Broads National Park. Read here.
  • As the weather improved, work began in the Stiffkey catchment on a farm ditching system. Now, run-off from fields and road verges is intercepted and directed into a new pond habitat, where the water will be filtered by the plants, and the sediment will drop out of suspension. Watch the film here.
  • As we reached early summer, we returned to a farm site in the Upper Wensum Catchment, to complete the planting of native wetland species in a new series of wetlands. View the case study and film.
Cat
  • We also completed the upgrade of a long (over 500m) and sloping farm track, which was acting as a run-off pathway to the River Ant. The steep slopes were reduced, the track camber was altered and cross drains were created to direct flow to the wooded area and mini silt traps.

Farm track (before)

Farm track, with slight camber and cross drains directing run-off to the adjacent mini silt traps (after)

  • This autumn, we delivered a project to improve habitat complexity and capture soil in the Upper Wensum catchment. The woodland floor will be wet once again, with a new braided channel forming, and soil will be captured in a new sediment trap. View the timelapse.
  • We’ve also been busy working with the food and drink supply chain, particularly Branston Ltd. and British Sugar, to produce best practice guides for sugar beet (pages 20-21) and potato growers that focus on improving soil health and water management.

How to engage with WSF

Want to find out more, get in touch or chat to a member of our team? Visit https://norfolkriverstrust.org/our-work/water-sensitive-farming/, or phone 01263 711299.

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