An ecological research project investigating the impacts of river flow and physical habitat restoration on fish communities.

At a glance

  • DatesJune 2016 - June 2019
  • SponsorAffinity Water, Environment Agency (a part of Cranfield University’s Industrial Partnership PhD studentship programme)
  • Funded£75,713
  • Partners

Water companies and environmental regulators are working together to ensure that the nation’s growing need for drinking water does not negatively impact the environment. A key concern for both sectors relates to rivers that flow over chalk geology as chalk provides a reliable source of groundwater, and chalk rivers are protected habitats that have the potential to support diverse ecological communities and healthy fisheries.

Water companies are extracting less groundwater as part of abstraction reduction programmes, a form of river flow restoration, and working with local landowners to improve the physical habitat of rivers and surrounding (riparian) land. PhD researcher Mickaël Dubois is conducting field-based research to assess the ecological community response to these two forms of restoration to inform management and advise best practice.

Fish sampling with the Environment Agency
Fish sampling with the Environment Agency (photo credit Mickaël Dubois)