WHY IS SEDIMENT A PROBLEM?
High levels of fine sediments such as silt and sand can deplete populations of aquatic plants, insects and fish by damaging their natural habitat. It can also increase flood risk and has a financial cost to businesses that rely on the river as sediments can block vital infrastructure and shipping lanes.
WHAT WE’RE DOING TO TACKLE IT
To tackle this problem, we’re working on an exciting new project called Fine Sediment Fingerprinting to understand exactly where the major sources of fine sediment in the South Tyne are. This research, that we’re delivering in collaboration with Rothamsted Research, is being supported by funding from Northumbrian Water and the Water and Abandoned Metal Mines Programme (a partnership between the Environment Agency, the Coal Authority and Defra).
When we understand the major sources of fine sediment in the South Tyne, we’ll be able to plan the interventions that will have the greatest environmental benefit. All these interventions will involve nature-based solutions such as tree planting, wetland creation and peatland restoration. This work will prevent sediments entering the river, providing a boost for wildlife while capturing carbon, reducing flooding, and improving the river for everyone to enjoy.
Above: Silt traps are used to catch sediment to analyse where it has come from
WORKING WITH BUSINESSES TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM
When the research is complete, we’ll work with businesses who will benefit from reduced fine sediment pollution of the river to generate funding to tackle the problem at a scale that makes a genuine difference.
This second part of the project, funded via DEFRA’s Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund, will begin in October 2022 with work on the ground anticipated to begin in March 2024.