Workers’ bid to restore river

PUBLISHED: 13:13 09 August 2007 | UPDATED: 15:12 12 May 2010

WORK in full flow on the River Mel – Pic: 2515DW45

WORK in full flow on the River Mel – Pic: 2515DW45

A GROUP of volunteers is working during the summer on restoring the River Mel. The River Mel Restoration Group spent Saturday continuing work on building out banks and placing 10 tonnes of gravel in the river. Group secretary Margaret Lynch said: We are

A GROUP of volunteers is working during the summer on restoring the River Mel.

The River Mel Restoration Group spent Saturday continuing work on building out banks and placing 10 tonnes of gravel in the river.

Group secretary Margaret Lynch said: "We are attempting to right the wrongs of the past and to ensure that the River Mel is left to the next generation in better heart."

In recent months the group has been working with scientists from both the Environment Agency and Kingston University to work out improvements to the river.

There has also been advice from experts at the River Restoration Centre in Bedford.

"Interfering with the flow of a river is no task for the amateur," said Mrs Lynch.

The River Mel is one of 161 chalk rivers in Britain which rises in Melbourn and runs through Meldreth before reaching the Cam.

Work being carried out includes speeding up the flow of water in the hope that it will result in an improvement as a breeding ground for wild trout.

Last month the group began work on setting up a spawning ground for the trout which saw the vast amount of gravel being placed in the water to create banks and shallows on the river bed.

Mrs Lynch said the threats to the river "are essentially all from man". These include water abstraction, off-wash from roads, and industrial sewage.

"A real threat to the river is silt and this is something the conservation group can tackle," said Mrs Lynch.

"Chalk rivers should have a stony bottom which will support a special insect population. This is turn supports other life in the river."

The group is hoping that its work can be extended to the whole of the River Mel.

"Our work may also influence the planning authorities to be aware of the importance of such rivers when considering planning matters," said Mrs Lynch.

Robin Page, the conservationist and ex-presenter of One Man and His Dog, will be giving a talk on country matters at Meldreth Village Hall on October 19.

Tickets for the event will be £5 each, available from Margaret Lynch on 01763 261451 or Sandra Webb on 01763 261241.


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