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Case Studies

Featured Case Studies

Project Name:
Whiteknight Lakes Habitat Improvement
Client:
University of Reading
Year:
Aug 31, 2014
Keywords:
Habitat creation, fish removal, reedbed creation, de-silting, revetment, biodiversity enhancement
Summary:
Whiteknights Lakes is a series of three lakes located on the University of Reading’s campus and in 2014 the Habitat Creation and Ecological Contracting team at ...

Whiteknights Lakes is a series of three lakes located on the University of Reading’s campus and in 2014 the Habitat Creation and Ecological Contracting team at Ecosulis was commissioned to undertake restoration works.

Prior to restoration the lakes suffered from high levels of sludge and silt as well as heavily shaded banks. Additionally the resident fish population further contributed to high levels of turbidity in the lakes and nutrient loading. As a result very little vegetation could grow in and around the lakes. Overall, levels of biodiversity recorded at the site were low, with relatively few bird and invertebrate species being present. The restoration project aims to enhance the biodiversity of the lakes, both for environmental benefit as well as providing a valuable green space to be enjoyed by visitors to the site and provide opportunities for education and interpretation.

The restoration programme involved creating and planting new reedbeds around each of the lakes. A total of 10 reedbed areas were planted containing up to 50 different species, these were planted within protective cages which would safeguard the plants from grazing waterfowl while they became established. These reedbeds not only provide suitable habitat for a wide range of wildlife but also provide a natural system to remove contaminants and improve water quality through phytoremediation. Since the reedbeds were planted in May 2014 they have thrived, become fully established in one season and provided shelter for breeding amphibians within biomanipulated pools behind the reedbeds.

Before - May 2014: Reprofiling of banks and backfilling with silt

After - September 2014: Successful establishment of marginal habitat 

Other aspects of the project involved the removal of fish from the top lakes as part of restoration, using Seine nets and electro-fishing techniques and re-released into the main lake. This will reduce nutrient load and improve water quality and predation upon amphibians.

Monitoring of the silt levels at the lakes has been undertaken to assess the opportunities for further remediation works.

Finally interpretation boards will be provide at three locations around the site to provide visitors information about local bird life and ecology as well as the restoration works.

 

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