Frankley - River Rea Improvements

In partnership with the Friends of Balaams Wood and other local community groups, the NIA commence improvement work on the River Rae at New Frankley.

The River Rea has its headwaters in the Waseley Hills in Worcestershire and flows up through Birmingham until it reaches the River Tame. During this journey it travels through the area of New Frankley in Birmingham. 

Along this stretch of the Rea the river is mostly in an open channel with a few culverts to cross roads. The banks were largely covered with overgrown vegetation such as bramble, nettles and tree species which resulted in the shading out of other species and left little diversity.  

The vegetation offered good nesting and cover habitat for wildlife but was in need of some management.  Management of the banks helps to increase biodiversity and make the area more resilient and sustainable. It also makes it more interesting for local people to be able to see the actual water and find enjoyment from the wildlife that is around.  By managing the vegetation on a rotational basis it ensures there is plenty of suitable scrubby/bramble habitat available whilst also maintaining the banks in good condition.

There is little structural diversity in the channel and limited vegetation growth. It is subject to quite large fluctuations in water level and therefore most vegetation has difficulty colonising. Through FIN (Freshwater Invertebrate Network) is was found that the water quality is quite poor predominantly caused by urban pollution from organic sources.

On 4th November 2014 improvement work began at the site which will continue throughout winter and into spring.  Tasks include vegetation clearance, removal of watercourse obstructions, along with other groundworks designed to meet the project aims.  These include the removal of a weir upstream of Ormond Wood and the introduction of reed-beds both designed to improve the habitat and resilience of the watercourse.

 

 

 

We look forward to reporting updates and pictures of progress so far as the project continues.