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River Habitat Survey

led by Professor Nick Clifford, King’s College London

Location: River Derwent at Borrowdale

The group undertook a River Habitat Survey of a one kilometre section of the River Derwent. Pairs were stationed at 100 metre intervals along the river to complete the survey at ten points. The survey can be carried out with minimal equipment (tape measure) by making visual observations and taking notes. Data was collected on the background of the site, valley form and situation, survey conditions (it was raining heavily), channel features such as riffles/pools/bars, physical attributes of the bank & channel, land use, vegetation, bank profile, channel dimensions, artificial feature and river management. Due to sustained heavy rain the conditions at the time of survey included rapid discharge and areas of flooding. Despite its apparent natural appearance, the river has been heavily managed with reinforcement along much of its banks. The survey can be found on p.71 of the River Quality Survey short manual and can be modified for use with school pupils: ( ) Completing the survey teaches participants to observe closely the processes and features of a river and its surroundings. This leads to a better understanding of river behaviour and how people seek to manage rivers in the environment.

Defra (2003) Guidebook of Applied Fluvial Geomorphology.

Raven et al. (1998) River Habitat Quality: the physical character of rivers and streams in the UK & the Isle of Mann. Environment Agency.

Nora, M. and Hornby, D. (2013) Rivers Habit Survey.