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Tree-planting project aims to cool Norfolk’s rivers

06:30 09 January 2016

Norfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative. Ursuline Juta and Helen Mandley carry saplings to the planting site. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Norfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative. Ursuline Juta and Helen Mandley carry saplings to the planting site. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

ARCHANT NORFOLK

Hundreds of trees were planted along Norfolk river banks in a scheme aiming to cool water courses to reduce the impacts of climate change on wildlife.

Norfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative. Project officer Liam Reynolds with one of the saplings. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYNorfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative. Project officer Liam Reynolds with one of the saplings. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The Norfolk Rivers Trust, working in partnership with the Environment Agency, is planting 1,300 trees along the banks of the River Bure and the River Yare under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative.

The project aims to reduce water temperature in the river by providing shade, and also to create new food sources for the many organisms found in freshwater ecosystems.

About 700 trees – including common alder, dogwood, hawthorn, goat willow and silver birch – were planted at a site near Buxton this week, with the rest destined for smaller sites along the two rivers during the rest of the two-week project.

Norfolk Rivers Trust project officer Liam Reynolds said: “We’re planting all our trees in the riparian zone, essentially the first metre of the river bank. By planting there they overhang the river, which reduces the impact of the hot summers and climate change as much as possible, and the knock-on effect on the various species of fish and invertebrates.

Norfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYNorfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

“By planting the trees we expect the water temperature to stop rising. With hotter summers predicted in the future it is likely the temperature of rivers will increase. If the river temperature was to rise by four degrees in the space of a few weeks it will have a big knock-on effect on fish like brown trout, and the less hardy fish will die. We are trying to avoid those impacts.

“The initial benefit is cover for the fish to protect them from predation, and it provides an increased food source dropping into the river for invertebrates. So it also improves the food chain.”

Mr Reynolds said the scheme would benefit fish including brown trout, dace, chub, pike and eels.

“Here, as it is quite a deep river, the temperature rises are not going to be that significant, but there are other sites on the Yare where we are working on shallow water where there are some really nice brown trout and the difference of a few degrees could have a big effect,” he said.

Norfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYNorfolk Rivers Trust plant trees along the banks of the River Bure under the Keeping Rivers Cool initiative. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The tree-planting was carried out with the help of about 20 volunteers from the Norfolk Rivers Trust and The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).

Mr Reynolds said: “Without volunteers we wouldn’t have the manpower to do what we do, so we are extremely grateful to the people who give up their time to help.”

The Norfolk Rivers Trust was established in 2011 with the objective of conserving the county’s rivers and wetlands, and “enhancing the value of the aquatic landscape through encouraging natural processes, with benefits for wildlife and people”.

To volunteer for future Norfolk Rivers Trust projects, contact Liam Reynolds on 01263 711299.

Are you involved in a wildlife or landscape conservation project? Contact chris.hill@archant.co.uk.

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6 comments

  • On the other hand if it keeps a few global warming zealots happy for a few hours then who are we to complain.

    Report this comment

    John Benton

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

  • Jesus, I've come across some stupidity in my 61 years on this planet but this tops the lot.

    Report this comment

    John Benton

    Thursday, January 14, 2016

  • My previous comment was "that slug of water may be saved from 'overheating' by about one 10th* (i.e. 0.1) of a degree centigrade."

    Report this comment

    Ron Hughes

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

  • Good luck to Mr Reynolds with his efforts. If the river flows at 2kph, and the shading is 100m long, it'll shade a slug of water for 3 minutes, before that slug re-enters any sunlight which happens to be shining. A 'back-of-a-fag-packet' calculation suggests that on a sunny summer's day, that slug of water may be saved from 'overheating' by about 110th* of a degree centigrade. For a few minutes. I trust the aquatic inhabitants & anglers also appreciate his efforts. *Many variables & assumptions - I'd welcome alternative estimates.

    Report this comment

    Ron Hughes

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

  • Has Mr Reynolds carried out a pre-assessment by measuring upstream & downstream dynamic water temperatures around existing shaded areas of similar length? Does his organisation possess equipment sensitive enough to detect any sensible shade-reduced temperature over such a distance? When was the last time the flowing Bure water temperature exceeded 24ºC for a few days? One has to wonder how Mr Reynolds will persuade the fish to remain down stream of the newly planted trees once those are actually tall enough to provide some shade?

    Report this comment

    Ron Hughes

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

  • Here we go again - quoting scary "Climate Change" temperature rises without any evidence that they have been, or actually will. NRT's Liam Reynolds said: "If the river temperature was to rise by four degrees in the space of a few weeks it will have a big knock-on effect" Are we to assume this figure is just based on one of the higher estimates trotted out by the IPCC, or does such a rise occur every summer, and always has done? If the latter, then short of planting trees along the entire lengths of the Bure & Yare, this is a complete waste of time. When words such as "predicted" "likely" & "could" appear, you know they are clutching at straws... The project sounds like another example of the EA deliberately not maintaining rivers as they used to be, before the EU Water Framework Directive was quietly introduced 25 years ago. Indeed, the final paragraph says as much: “Enhancing the value of the aquatic landscape through encouraging natural processes, with benefits for wildlife and people” - except there won't be any benefits for the unfortunate people affected by increased flooding in recent times. Earlier on we read: "And it provides an increased food source dropping into the river for invertebrates" - further proof that the intention is to let rivers slowly clog up, instead of regularly clearing them to maintain adequate flow.

    Report this comment

    David Ward

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

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