October marks the beginning of the Broads Authority’s ‘Hickling Project’ to restore reedswamp at Hickling with the help of its European partnership project CANAPE (Creating A New Approach to Peatland Ecosystems).
The aim of the restoration project is to restore this area back to its original banks based on aerial photographs taken in 1946. Over the next three winters Broads Authority teams will work to construct a 1ha area of reedswamp on the edge of the broad, in an area which has been named “Chara Bay” after the plant species which it is hoped will develop around the new area. The work is taking place with the help of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust who own the nature reserve where the reedswamp will be restored.
The reedswamp restoration is expected to have a positive effect on the following four main areas:
An artist’s impression has shown how the area will look at the end of the restoration project, with reeds growing out of a peninsula which once existed in the 1940s. To re-create this habitat, an engineering project will begin using 50 meter long geotextile tubes filled with dredged mud from the marked channel. These will be held in place with alder poles driven into the bed of the broad. The geotextile tubes will act as a solid barrier to prevent the new reed bed being swept away by the wind and waves in the Broad. This will allow the new banks to form a permanent part of the environment. The tubes will be permeable, allowing water to pass through them creating a naturally wet area of swamp. Reed will be planted on top of the tubes, forming a bank similar to the natural banks of the broad.
CANAPE Project manager, Harry Mach said of the work,
“The Hickling project is hoped to have a deeply positive impact on the environment in several ways. It should have substantial benefits for reed-dwelling wildlife such as the bittern and swallowtail butterfly. It will help to improve the water-quality of the area and to reduce the greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere thanks to fen being a natural carbon store. We’re really excited to get the reed bed restoration underway and to see the benefits which we’re sure it will bring. ”
Wednesday 31 October 2018