The Crane Valley Partnership

A River Rich and Diverse in Habitats and Native Wildlife

We want to ensure that the river, and river corridor supports healthy and diverse populations of priority native species and habitats

We plan to do this by using habitat opportunity mapping of the catchment to assess existing habitats, and identify opportunities to create and enhance ponds, backwaters, wet woodland, reedbeds and grazing marsh within the active floodplain.

We also need to ensure that the best management practices are used to enhance these habitats throughout the catchment. This includes selective tree and scrub clearance in order to expose areas of river channel to sunlight and encourage the growth of aquatic plants whilst leaving sufficient cover to future proof the river against higher temperatures and provide suitable shelter for fish.

We recognise the importance of national, regional and local Biodiversity Action Plans , and intend to integrate their objectives into our own aspirations and the way we work. We also want to ensure that every local authority in the catchment understands and protects the river from unsympathetic development. This can be achieved through outlining buffer zones to protect the river and its environment.


We want to understand the distribution of non-native species and control them

The occurrence of invasive plant species in the catchment, such as Himalayan Balsam, Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed, are being mapped as a reference point to ensure we are taking a methodical and co-ordinated approach when tackling their eradication. Maps also enable us to monitor the success of a removal operation and prevent new outbreaks of invasive species spreading to areas that have already been cleared.

Other invasive species, such as signal crayfish, may be more difficult to tackle as they are currently not being monitored in the river.


We want diverse and sustainable populations of native fish throughout the catchment

We intend to achieve this by improving connectivity along the river via installing fish passes where barriers to migration are present and by removing these barriers where possible (e.g. weirs and sluices). This should allow the free passage of fish up and down the river and permit the ingress of species from the River Thames such as the European eel.

We plan to focus on making in-river habitat enhancements. This could include the creation of refuge and recruitment areas for fish by increasing habitat complexity. This could be achieved by: the replacement of wooden toe boarding with faggots, the creation of backwaters, the improvement of riparian and marginal zones, the removal of culverts and lined channels and the creation of meanders on artificially straightened sections of river.

We also recognise the importance of reducing siltation and reinstating gravels in the river. Clean gravel is the substrate that species of fish, such as barbel, require to spawn and that many species of freshwater invertebrates need to survive. We plan to focus on areas where we can reinstate gravels through using natural materials to promote natural river processes.


Outcomes
  • The river and river corridor supports healthy and diverse populations of priority native species and habitats.
  • To understand the distribution of non-native species and control them.
  • Diverse and sustainable populations of native fish throughout the catchment.