The Los Angeles river lives again


Rory Carroll from the Gardian in the UK reports on 'LA's concrete storm drains conceal a living, breathing waterway that has rarely been explored – until now.'


He writes "The LA river will never compete with the Danube or Seine or Thames as an attraction for stressed city-dwellers. Nor will it inspire many poems or novels. It is too meagre, too hidden, to ever be fully part of the city. But advocates are on to something when they say it can transform perceptions of LA.

After passing a concrete bridge with graffiti-daubed arches and a shopping trolley half-buried in mud, we enter a wilderness that seems a world removed from the freeways and urban sprawl above. "We call this the Grand Canyon," says Wolfe, showing his flair for advertising, as we paddle through a mini-gorge 15ft tall. Nature slowly asserts itself. To our left are wild fig trees, descendants of those planted by the Indians, to our right potentially deadly ricin-producing plants. Further on, hallucinogenic gypsum weed. "Around the next bend is the Apocalypse Now bit," says Wolfe. We encounter "fish sticks": improvised traps made by unknown hands to trap carp, tilapia and other species. A discourse on how to make the traps is drowned out by a passenger jet roaring low overhead, briefly breaking the spell."

for the full article

CIRF heard at the Italian Senate on flood risk and river restoration


Last June the Italian Senate Environment Commission called the Italian Centre for River Restoration for a hearing on a legislative proposal on flood risk prevention. CIRF director Andrea Goltara and president Ileana Schipani had the chance to discuss with senators critical issues for river basin management in Italy and especially to highlight benefits of river restoration for flood risk mitigation.

More details (in Italian) on CIRF website.

Proposal to bring back beavers to Welsh rivers


Following the release of  beavers into an enclosure in Cwm Einion near Machynlleth, Powys  2 years ago, the Welsh Beaver Project has published a report outlining a proposal to release beavers back into the river valleys of Wales. In an article by the BBC proponents of the project argue that the beavers will cut flood risk and help boost biodiversity. Project co-ordinator Adrian LLoyd Jones told the BBC that beavers are'gentle and effective managers of wetland and river woodland habitat and that beaver dams would help reduce flash floods by slowing down rivers in spate'

Last chance to book our Network event at the 8th European Conference on Ecological Restoration


The on-line programme is available here.

Further information is available on the conference website

RESTORE network event is from 8:30 - 10:15 on Friday the 14th of September

University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic

This 8th Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration – Europe (SER) will provide an opportunity to exchange knowledge and build new potential cooperation.

The main theme is ‘Near-natural restoration’, and the aim is to present and discuss restoration ecology as a scientific discipline and in practice. It will cover restoration of a range of habitat types including wetlands, fresh water ecosystems and marine and coastal ecosystems.

Further information is available on the conference website

Rare dragonfly found on the River Nene following restoration


A rare dragonfly has been discovered on the River Nene following Environment Agency work to improve habitat.

The scarce chaser dragonfly (Libellula fulva)  was discovered on Castor Backwater, near to the villages of Castor and Ailsworth, during a survey to assess how effective a restoration project there had been.

Chris Extence, Environment Monitoring Team Leader, said: “We are monitoring our river restoration project on Castor Backwater to see how successful it has been. We have already received good feedback from local anglers about fish using the area to spawn. Now, we have also noted the appearance of the scarce chaser dragonfly.

“This is great news and shows that the project is already helping to improve this stretch of the River Nene.”

The scare chaser dragonfly is native to the UK. It is officially recognised as being rare and the species is deemed to be of national importance.

Chris said: “We have only found this species once before on the Nene, a single specimen being found at Lilford Bridge in 2007. This new finding is of considerable importance as it shows that other parts of the river, withsuitable habitat, are capable of supporting breeding populations of this rare and very attractive dragonfly.”

The Castor Backwater restoration project was carried out by the Environment Agency with support from the Nene Park Trust. It aimed to protect and improve important wildlife and coarse fish habitat and included repairing and re-profiling the river’s banks, installing fencing and cattle-drinkers and creating two fish-refuge ponds. The ponds provide areas for fish to shelter from high flows. Newly installed gravel on the river bed has provided much needed spawning habitat for fish.

The Castor Backwater project followed a survey carried out by the Wildlife Trust in 2010. It cost £40,000 and took around five weeks to complete.

Short-term monitoring of the project is now complete, but the Environment Agency intends to revisit the site later this year to check on progress.