Stage Zero

Stage Zero is a partnership between the Environment Agency, the Evenlode Catchment Partnership, Thames Water and Blenheim, to recreate the impact that beavers would have on a flood plain.
Stage Zero

Stage Zero

Stage Zero is a partnership between the Environment Agency, the Evenlode Catchment Partnership, Thames Water and Blenheim, to recreate the impact that beavers would have on a flood plain.

Stage Zero is a partnership between the Environment Agency, the Evenlode Catchment Partnership, Thames Water, and Blenheim, to recreate the impact that beavers would have on a flood plain. The project will allow the water to spill out of the River Dorn at high flow, naturally, to the surrounding water meadows. By Spring 2022 we will have a naturally working floodplain initiative.

This project began in October 2021 and took three weeks to complete. It is the first time a project like this has been done in the United Kingdom in conjunction with tree planting. After the revolutionary river work is completed, it will be transformed from its current agricultural drained state, to much more of what rivers might have looked like in the past.

 

Diagram showing the flood plain work

The diagram below shows the true scale of the project. Three woody debris dams will be created which means water spills out of the river more regularly. This results in the river having lots of channels to move through which slows it down. The introduction of fallen wood on the floodplain wood (felled trees) will remove effects of historical agricultural drainage and a series of bank punches will allow water run off more regularly.

Stage Zero

The Water Meadows

The water meadows are unique and provide a valuable habitat for birds, small mammals, and plants from small aquatic species to mature trees. We have been using computer modelling to survey the area and from the results, this is the most suited location for the works.

Water Quality

Previously we would have removed silt and put it along the banks, which means when a high flow event comes through, the water is constrained and therefore bypasses the filter and flows down into the Queen Pool. This reduces the water quality so it is our aim to intercept the water before it reaches the Pool.

The Project

This project is unique, and we have developed it alongside the Environment Agency, Thames Water and the Evenlode Catchment Partnership. Working collaboratively has allowed us to share learnings which creates better outcomes and a more sustainable, long-term solution.

We’re enhancing the natural processes of the landscape to treat the water in a natural way. When the water is slowed down it will mean the flood won’t be as severe.

The Actions

We will create an area of wetland habitat by blocking the man made drain (previously used for agricultural grazing) at dipwell 1. This will increase the bio diversity of the area with the creation of new habitats, encouraging new species.

  • Locking up sediment
  • Cycle many more nutrients
  • Will lock up more carbon (wetlands are much more effective at carbon storage than trees)

An aerial view of the land

An aerial view of the land