The innovative restoration of a Norfolk Broads reed bed has been awarded a second accolade in a year. The Broads Authority’s project at Salhouse Broad has won international acclaim as a pioneering way of re-using dredged sediment.
Now it has been awarded the UK’s first Working with Nature Certificate of Recognition by PIANC, The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure, and one of only three certificates to be awarded in Europe. The certificates are awarded to ‘environmentally ambitious’ navigation infrastructure projects which have been implemented, and which focus on identifying win-win solutions that maximise opportunities rather than simply minimising ecological harm. The accolade enables the project to be promoted as an example of international best practice.
Jan Brooke, UK representative on PIANC's Environment Commission, said: “PIANC has had many applications for the Working with Nature certificate in its first year but relatively few projects are getting through. It is not proving an easy certificate to obtain.” The reed bed restoration met the certificate’s criteria by being developed through stakeholder engagement, with no net loss of biodiversity, by using natural processes and with sustainability at the heart of the project. Giant geotextile bags - big enough to drive a car through - were temporarily fixed to locally cut alder piling and filled with sediment dredged from the nearby river.
The 7,000m2 area behind the bags was also filled with dredged sediment on which vegetation for the reed bed has been grown. This has created both a use and a disposal site for the dredged sediment, which has been a major problem on the Broads for a long time. Within a year more than 30 plant species –some nationally scarce - are growing there. The restoration of the site is estimated to take two years.
The project, which cost £230,000, was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Promoting Integrated Sediment Management (PRISMA) project. William Coulet, PRISMA Project Manager, said: “The project at Salhouse is successful because of the win-win situation – navigation and nature both benefit. With the use of innovative techniques and international knowledge we achieved more than a single project could normally hope for.
The accolade comes in the wake earlier this year of a commendation in the innovation category of the prestigious Waterways Renaissance Awards, which recognise exceptional projects that have turned inland waterways into desirable places for living, learning and leisure.
The project will be entered into the first four-yearly PIANC Working with Nature Awards which will be presented in San Francisco in June 2014.
Thursday 1 January 1970