Priority river habitat in England – mapping and targeting measures

Mainstone, Chris; Laize, Cedric; Webb, Gearoid; Skinner, Ann. 2014 Priority river habitat in England – mapping and targeting measures. Sheffield, Natural England, 34pp. (Natural England Joint Publication JP006, CEH Project no. C04732)

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Text (Fig. 10 High Resolution Priority Habitat Map. © Natural England and other parties 2014 )
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• This paper outlines an analysis of nationally available GIS datasets to generate a new map of priority river habitat for England. • Rivers in England were selected as priority habitat based on naturalness criteria (physical, hydrological, chemical and biological), capturing the most natural remaining examples as far as can be ascertained from nationally available data. This means that many examples of river types included in the UK BAP definition (such as chalk rivers) are excluded from the priority habitat map as they have been significantly modified and degraded over the centuries. • In addition to explaining the development of the new priority habitat map, this paper provides advice on how the map might best be used, how to target and prioritise restoration activity on rivers that do not feature on the map, and how to identify and give recognition to any restoration works that contribute to wider priority river habitat objectives. • The priority habitat map (Figure 10 in the report) - This provides a focus for preventing deterioration of our most natural remaining rivers and undertaking any limited restoration of natural processes that may be desirable (as indicated in Figure 16). • Priority rivers for restoration - Figure 17 shows rivers that are of types relevant to the UK BAP definition (chalk rivers and active shingle rivers) but are not sufficiently natural to feature on the priority habitat map. These should be considered a priority for restoration of natural processes. Action on these rivers should be considered of equal importance to the protection and enhancement of rivers on the priority habitat map. • Given that this national analysis is relatively coarse (particularly in respect of headwater areas), there is considerable scope for local ground-truthing and refinement. Local knowledge and interpretation have an important role to play in the use of the outputs of this work. It is recommended that a process is established for refining the priority habitat map based on more detailed local knowledge of naturally functioning rivers. The national map should subsequently be updated (a timeframe of 6 months is recommended) to reflect any local refinements. Resources need to be made available for this process. • As part of local application, it should be recognised that the national analysis only provides a river-reach or water body perspective. Local interpretation is needed to place priorities in a whole-river and catchment management context.

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Acreman
ISBN: 9781783541355
Funders/Sponsors: Natural England, NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Freely available online via Official URL link
Additional Keywords: freshwater, rivers
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 10 Feb 2015 14:54 +0 (UTC)

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