Case Study

Building Oxfordshire’s Freshwater Network

Freshwater Habitats Trust, Green Recovery Challenge Fund, Thames Water
Aquatic Engineering
Farmoor Reservoir

Aquatic Engineering specialise in biodiversity net gain projects, primarily concentrating on wetland creation. Recent contracts have ranged from small community projects of less than 1ha, through to sites of circa 10ha +

This project is part of the Building Oxfordshire’s Freshwater Network Project, it is being delivered by the Freshwater Habitats Trust in partnership with several project partners including the landowner at Farmoor reservoir, Thames Water Utilities Ltd. The project was funded through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund (GRCF) which is administered by the Heritage Lottery fund on behalf of DEFRA until March 2023.

The GRCF Building Oxfordshire’s Freshwater Network project aims to create new floodplain wetland mosaic habitats across Oxfordshire to provide connectivity of wetland habitats and a network of clean water habitats to enhance opportunities for wetland species to thrive.

South Buckthorn Meadow: Once a hotspot for grasshopper warblers but now overgrown with hawthorn.

A good percentage of hawthorn were grubbed out, and a small field pond dug, it is hoped the grasshopper warblers will return with a more open grassland feel. Woody debris was chipped for use on site pathways.

The disturbed soil will be over-sown with suitable 100% wildflower mixes

Above are the remnants of ponds/reedbeds the Aquatic Engineering Team planted way back in the 90’s, they are now largely overgrown. We were tasked with clearing them, but also extending them by a good percentage. Norfolk Reeds phragmites are great habitat, but need regular controlling on smaller shallow ponds

We have a complete range of machinery available and do not need to hire in equipment or use contract operatives. You can see a selection of the kit available, however we also run amphibious, low ground pressure and long reach excavators, as well as Hydrema high-capacity wheeled dumpers. Aquatic Engineering can cope when the going gets more difficult or we need to operate from the water or on marshes, fens & bogs.

This size of clump of phragmites rhizomes is perfect for translocation on site. Most projects are initially designed ‘in house’ by Aquatic Engineering’s experienced Consultants. The Aquatic Consultancy can advise on many aspects of creating successful wetlands and lakes.

Above is only one area of the Farmoor Wetland Project as commissioned by Freshwater Habitats Trust.
Until we can return and demonstrate site rejuvenation, we will shut the gate for now.

“It was great having Glyn and the team working at Farmoor reservoir last year creating new ponds on the nature reserves and surrounding areas. I have received nothing but positive feedback from the local walkers and birders of the new habitat created. The contractors were very considerate of the public using the site and made sure they left the area clean and tidy (which is much appreciated).”

– Hanna Jenkins, Farmoor Nature Reserve Warden