The result of the River Transformation project is rather like Marmite – you either love or hate it.
Now that we approach the end of the second year since the new berms were planted, the scheme has had time to stabilise and we can start looking at the long term management of what is undoubtedly one of the town’s most important features.
One of the main reasons for changing the river in the first place was in order to tackle the build-up of silt. Whilst in Victorian times a man and a cart could shovel silt out each year, the costs in this day and age are prohibitive. By removing the weirs, Mother Nature is now able to carry the silt down-stream and on to Radstock – so we’ve solved the silt problem.
However, whilst we’ve managed to create a wonderful habitat for wildlife at the heart of Midsomer Norton by returning the river bed to a near natural state, there have been increasing calls to ‘remove the weeds’ and tidy it all up as some people think it looks a mess.
The Town Council recently called a meeting of the volunteers who work very hard removing plants to keep the channel clear as well as clearing a great deal of litter thrown into the river. In the coming months the group will be looking at:
- Managing the planted areas more closely and adding colour whilst at the same time ensuring that the requirements of the Environment Agency and B&NES are met and wildlife is protected.
- Seeking advice concerning the number of fish which the river could support and how best to manage this area in the light of the frequent visits of the town’s otter.
- Commissioning information boards to provide more detail for residents and visitors who look at the river and want to know more about it.
- Formalising the existing arrangements with B&NES under the Town Council umbrella and establishing a group of regular volunteers to help