Emma on the Kent

I’ve joined South Cumbria Rivers Trust as a Project Officer for the EU LIFE 4ever Kent project. I have experience in hydro-ecology and geomorphology as I previously worked as a hydro-ecologist. As part of this I’ve previously worked on fish pass designs, fish habitat surveys and fluvial geomorphological walkovers.

As a new project officer, I will primarily be working on the EU LIFE4ever Kent project which sets out to restore and revitalise the River Kent Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) which is designated for Ranunculus fluitans (riverwater crowfoot: a species of buttercup) and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation plus three Annex II species including the Freshwater Pearl Mussel Margaritifera margaritifera, White-Clawed Crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes and Bullhead Cottus gobio.

As part of my first few weeks, I’ve been out on-site visits exploring and getting to know the River Kent and its tributaries. The primary aim of this was to go out and observe the current conditions of the watercourses and to become familiar with the habitats, species and constraints. This allowed me to understand potential areas of improvement whilst maintaining suitable habitat which provide good habitat for fish, freshwater pearl mussel and white-clawed crayfish. The site visits are also important in determining areas where river restoration can take place, for example removing barriers to fish movement and migration.

As part of learning about SCRT’s previous work, I was able to visit a section of watercourse that has had a series of large woody debris installed into the channel to create flow deflectors. It was amazing to see significant improvements to the channel in a short time. The channel is now displaying diverse flow habitats (including areas of riffles and deeper pools) which will provide a range of habitats, beneficial to fish and other aquatic organisms. New areas of gravel bars have formed as a result providing in-channel habitat diversity. These examples will be replicated within the catchment to provide further ecological and flow diversity to the River Kent and its tributaries.

To find out more about what I’m doing follow me on Twitter @EmmaWSCRT. For other information follow @SCRiversTrust and for more information about the LIFE 4ever Kent project got to https://twitter.com/LIFER4everKent