River Teme/ Afon Tefeidiad Site of Special Scientific Interest Restoration Plan
The River Teme/Afon Tefeidiad is one of the best sandstone and mudstone rivers in Britain, supporting a diverse range of plants, fish, insects and mammals. In recognition of its ecological value, the river has been designated as a nationally important Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Species of interest found in the River Teme SSSI include salmon,twaite shad, otter, native crayfish, lampreys, bullhead and pearl mussels.The River Teme is currently not meeting the required standards for the SSSI. This means that the habitat and conditions for the typical vegetation, fish and insect communities have been degraded.
The need for river restoration
The Teme/ Afon Tefeidiad has been modified over time for a variety of reasons. In places the physical form of the river has been altered by inâ€channel structures (weirs), flood banks, straightening and bank protection, all of which can reduce habitat quality, quantity and variety, and affect the movement of fish and sediment. River restoration is needed to improve the physical habitat condition of the river. However, this is only one element in getting the river up to the required standard for the SSSI.
The aim is to move the river towards a more natural, unconstrained state that supports a greater diversity of ecology and wildlife, whilst recognising the needs of river users. To plan the restoration of the river, we need to understand the current physical processes (how water and sediments move in the river and how this influences the physical form), and how this subsequently impacts on the ecology of the river.
Survey and data to inform the plan
Our contractors (JBA) walked the entire length of the river in September, recording the physical conditions present and assessing how this impacts on the river ecology. We will use their results, together with previous studies and historical information, to identify potential restoration actions and put together a draft Restoration Plan for the river.
Water quality has been affected by point source and diffuse pollution, including excess fine sediment. The effect of climate change (including extreme flows), and invasive species is also increasingly of concern.
Developing the River Teme SSSI Restoration Plan
The Environment Agency, Natural England, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Severn Rivers Trust are developing a river restoration plan, to identify actions to improve the physical habitat condition of the River Teme SSSI.
The plan will also inform decisions made about future river management activities. Over time, the restoration of the River Teme/ Afon Tefeidiad SSSI will improve the river for the species and habitats that depend on it, and help the river become more resilient to future extremes of flow. This should in turn benefit the people who live and work on the River Teme.
Wider catchment management
The Severn Rivers trust is currently coordinating the Teme Catchment Partnership Group. The partnership is developing a wider catchment management plan to address a range of issues affecting the river, including actions to improve water quality and tackle invasive species. The River Teme SSSI restoration plan will feed into the wider catchment plan.
For more information
River Teme SSSIâ€ Natural England
Worcestershireâ€James Griffiths MLMâ€WarksandWorcs@naturalengland.org.uk
Herefordshireâ€ Wayne Davies MLMâ€“Herefordshire@naturalengland.org.uk
Shropshire â€“ Frances McCullagh MLMâ€“Shropshire@naturalengland.org.uk
We welcome your involvement in developing the restoration plan, and will seek your views in a number of ways. Initial views on the restoration plan will be sought from the landowner representatives and other interests on the Teme Catchment Group, and from the Teme Catchment Fishery Association. Comments on the draft restoration plan In February we will make the draft restoration plan available for comment on the Severn Rivers Trust website at http://temecatchment.com/ We will consider the comments, amend the plan and publish the final report on the Severn Rivers Trust website in April
Taking restoration forward
Following consideration of comments on the restoration plan, we will finalise the report. We will then seek opportunities to work with landowners, fishing clubs and others to take forward restoration projects on the ground.