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Responses of fishes and lampreys to the re-creation of meanders in a small English chalk stream

Champkin, JD; Copp, GH; Sayer, CD; Clilverd, HM; George, L; Vilizzi, L; Godard, MJ; ... Walker, AM; + view all (2017) Responses of fishes and lampreys to the re-creation of meanders in a small English chalk stream. River Research and Applications , 34 (1) pp. 34-43. 10.1002/rra.3216. Green open access

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Abstract

River rehabilitation initiatives have become commonplace in European water courses as a result of European Union Water Framework Directive requirements. However, the short‐term responses of fishes to such work have thus far been varied, with some river rehabilitation efforts resulting in demonstrable improvements in diversity and size structure, whereas others have resulted in little or no change. Electrofishing and channel character surveys were conducted annually between 2009 and 2014 on a reach of the River Glaven (North Norfolk, UK) before and after rehabilitation work (embankment removal in 2009 and re‐meandering in 2010) as well as on a control reach immediately upstream. To assess the effects of rehabilitation work, before‐after‐control‐impact analysis tested for changes in channel character (geomorphology, substratum composition, and mesohabitat structure) and in fish species richness, relative abundance, population density, and size structure (calculated after fish data entry into the UK Environment Agency's National Fisheries Population Database). Following re‐meandering work (i.e., treatment), habitat heterogeneity and depth variation increased in the treatment reach, but fish responses were not significant except for biomass and density increases of brown trout Salmo trutta and abundance decreases of European eel Anguilla anguilla, in the treatment but not the control reach. These results are consistent with comparable river rehabilitation initiatives elsewhere, and they suggest that larger‐scale rehabilitations are probably needed to produce greater increases in fish density and diversity. It is recommended that future rehabilitation initiatives address catchment‐scale factors that can enhance ecosystem recovery, for example, removal of barriers to colonization, and increases in connectivity and water quality issues linked to eutrophication, elevated fine sediment inputs, and various pollutants.

Type: Article
Title: Responses of fishes and lampreys to the re-creation of meanders in a small English chalk stream
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/rra.3216
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/rra.3216
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: brook lamprey, brown trout, floodplain connectivity, rehabilitation, restoration, River Glaven
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10045959
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