Catcliffe river spruce-up complete

WORK to give nature a boost along a popular waterway has been completed.

New artificial berms - extensions of the bank into the river course - along the River Rother next to Orgreave Road in Catcliffe should help fish and other animals and plants return to the waterway.

The project, co-ordinated by the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust (SRWT) and the Environment Agency, has taken place along a 450-metre stretch of the river.

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Detailed research was carried out during the planning of the scheme to ensure that people living nearby were safe from flooding.

Roy Mosley, SRWT’s head of conservation and land management, said the five berms - which consist of a base of rock covered by a geotextile layer, covered by soil and a biodegradable mat pinned into place to hold it all together until vegetation grows and binds the structure - will vary the speed of the river which will get rid of silt and create a gravelly bed for fish spawning, as well as different micro-habitats.

A dug-out backwater area, which will be like a small reservoir taking flow from the main course, will be completed soon and could act as a catchment point during high flows. It will create a standing water habitat.

Mr Mosley said the whole project had gone well. He said: “We have been lucky with the weather.”

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Mr Mosley said that the warm autumn could mean grass becoming established on the new berms quickly though he expected most growth next spring.

The full results will be seen in “a few years” after native plants have become established along the bank, he said, though water voles, kingfishers, herons and even mink had already been spotted.

In 2012, a feasibility study for the scheme saw every household in Catcliffe receive a leaflet outlining the proposed scheme and inviting them to a consultation session, with the project receiving widespread support.