Two channels on this section of the River Test were severely degraded, providing poor habitat. The main channel was significantly over-wide with sluggish and laminar flows, uniform deposition of fine sediment and limited floral diversity. Several weirs exacerbated habitat uniformity, slowed the flow and increased the rate of deposition. Over-shading from trees bank revetment severely limited the growth of submerged, emergent and marginal plants. The result was a sterile environment with little cover for fish.
Salmonid spawning opportunities were limited to a few sites towards the far upper and lower ends of the fishery. The lack of cover and the fragmented nature of the fishery (on account of the impassable weirs) meant that fish were acutely vulnerable to predators.
A project was proposed by the Wild Trout Trust (WTT), to be delivered by Wessex Rivers Trust in partnership with WTT. A total budget of £56,000 was costed for the delivery of the project; providing a value of approximately £55 per m for a double-bank river restoration project. This included the removal of 12 weirs, the construction of 8 bespoke angler-accessible berms, 24 large and/or coarse woody habitat features, three new riffles, and the reprofiling/lowering of the bank in several locations.
The landowner funded the project, claiming a significant percentage of the cost back from the Environment Agency under the Test and Itchen Restoration Strategy.