IN-RIVER WORKS - WATERFIELDS RECREATION GROUND
Waterfields Recreation Ground is a Green Flag-winning open space situated on the River Colne, just to the north of Watford Town Centre. The section of the river is designated as a Local Wildlife Site 84/014 for Flowing waters (rivers and streams); species.’ The park provides community leisure facilities, including a playground, football pitch, table tennis and plenty of green open space, with some wild areas for biodiversity. The River Colne is a central feature of the site, but unfortunately has a neglected appearance due to historical realignment of the watercourse and the occurrence of regular pollution incidents. Urgent intervention is required to reverse this deterioration, enabling the Colne to reach full ecological potential.
Current site issues:
Disconnection from the natural floodplain
A lack of sunshine which negatively impacts floral biodiversity
Presence of non-native invasive species and water quality issues
The floodplain is disconnected from the main river connection, and lacks natural wetland features which are crucial to supporting a diverse range of river species. To address this, a series of ponds or wetland scrapes (shallow pools where overflow water can sit) will be installed (see image below for illustration) with gently sloping edges to hold rain or flood water. This will provide valuable habitat for wildlife such as dragonflies and damselflies.
Similarly to the other sites mentioned, issues in flow diversity will be tackled with a series of in-channel features using a combination of berms, flow deflectors, floating platforms and hinged trees to improve habitat diversity and increase the variety of species that can thrive in the river. Small tree works will address the lack of sunshine over the river corridor, to ensure a healthy balance ratio a 60:40 ratio of sunshine and shade is over the river corridor.