About River Corridor / Habitat Surveys

There are two main types of river survey used in the UK, River Corridor Survey (RCS) and River Habitat Survey (RHS). Both methods are used where rivers and streams might be affected by development or engineering works, which could include erosion control, flood defence, drainage and utilities management, road schemes, bridge works and conservation enhancement. The surveys are also undertaken on behalf of the Environment Agency as a means of monitoring the general status and health of river catchments to aid future approaches to catchment management and policy.

River Corridor Surveys focus more on the ecological characteristics of a river, recording and mapping habitats, adjacent land use and recording details of any protected or notable species. The survey also includes mapping and recording river flow features such as runs, riffles and pools along with other physical features such as eroding river cliffs and depositional channel bars. This survey is perhaps the most intense and challenging of the ecological surveys we undertake.

River Habitat Surveys are very much focused on the hydrogeomorphology of watercourses. The survey is divided into 500m length reach samples with sample points every 50m. At each 50m sample point detailed physical attributes and cross sections of the watercourse are recorded, including bank heights, profiles, substrates and flow types.

Our River Corridor / Habitat Surveys Services

Our surveyors have extensive experience in river survey, in particular River Corridor Survey which is a specialist discipline in our company.

Pennine Ecological have undertaken several major strategic River Corridor Surveys for the Environment Agency in the Thames Region, as well as surveys in the Severn-Trent area. Other surveys include RHS of the River Bollin, RHS/RCS of the River Wenning and RCS of the River Hodder, in total in excess of 800km or river have been surveyed.

Examples of  our River Coridor  Survey work

Lancashire Rural Futures

Ecological Habitat Survey & Enhancement of the River Wenning including River Corridor Survey, River Habitat Survey of the River Wenning between Clapham and High Bentham.

Environment Agency

RCS River Hodder – River Corridor Survey of the River Hodder Dunsop Bridge – Whitewell, Lancashire.

Environment Agency

RCS of rivers in north and West Midlands including Derbyshire, Warwickshire and Leicestershire. (80km).

Environment Agency

RCS River Severn Shrewsbury. River Corridor Survey of the River Severn Montford Bridge to Uffington (28km).

Environment Agency (Thames Region): RCS of rivers in Hampshire, Wiltshire. Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire , Surrey, Essex and Hertfordshire, including the rivers; Lyde, Whitewater, Blackwater, Ribb and Cotswold Water Park / upper Thames reaches. (> 500km).

Manchester Airport Group: RHS and RCS Surveys of the River Bollin associated with the development of Runway 2 and subsequent long term monitoring of river dynamics and ecology.

River Corridor / Habitat Surveys Case Study

The Environment Agency Thames Region – Strategic River Corridor Survey: Pennine Ecological have undertaken extensive Strategic RCS across a large swathe of the Thames Region with over 500km of rivers surveyed.

The surveys focussed on five separate large rural catchments across nine counties including Hertfordshire, Essex, Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

In excess of 500km of river was surveyed in detail, with all habitats within 50m of the river surveyed, as well as detailed mapping and auditing of in-stream and riparian habitats, flow types, hydrogeomorphological features, bank height/profile, channel depth/width and bank/channel material.

Natural and artificial trends, and existing management were recorded, and potential for in-channel and riparian enhancement identified.

Presence of protected species including otter signs, water vole, birds, dragonflies were recorded along with the location of invasive species throughout the 100m wide corridor.

The survey included nationally and internationally important habitats including spring-fed chalk streams, ancient lowland hay meadows and flood pastures rich in snake’s-head fritillary, and ancient woodland and hedgerows.

A major component of one river was Clattinger Farm, a SSSI and Special Area of Conservation, and the UK’s finest remaining example of enclosed lowland grassland. The farm lies on the Thames floodplain and its hay meadows drain into Swill Brook.

Once the field surveys were completed, a fine map and description of each 500m reach section was produced, showing the key features of the river sections outlined above, and all management issues.

The information gathered was distilled further, and the key morphological and ecological features along with opportunities to conserve, enhance or restore, the sections within each river were identified and described. Each 500m reach was then evaluated in terms of its conservation value, until all river sections of special importance and sensitivity were identified and described.

All the information cited above was then tabulated into the catchment summary and a full written evaluation of the whole catchment was then produced.

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