Rewetting Hoo Brook Pasture

Hoo Brook is blocked by a fallen tree, three hundred metres upstream along the section flowing down the northern edge of Hoo Brook Pasture. The tree fell last year, bridging the north and south banks of the brook. The River Stour water level is low at the moment, as is the brook flowing into it. The fallen tree, and other debris, has formed an effective dam. The difference in water levels, upstream and down stream of the dam, is around 600mm.

So, this natural dam is doing a good job of holding the brook water back close to Wilden Lane. Maybe a properly designed dam/weir, constructed from oak logs pinned to the brook bed, close to its confluence with the River Stour, is a practical and potentially acceptable means of increasing the minimum brook level to help with rewetting the Hoo brook pasture SSSI.

Since The Environment Agency’s policy is now to create cover and improved habitats for fish by pinning logs to river and brook beds, the creation of a log dam/weir might prove to be an acceptable way to proceed, subject to the necessary investigations, surveys and approvals.

3 Comments on “Rewetting Hoo Brook Pasture

  1. Nice to see natural features in the River again. Such features and artificial additions will gradually improve the water course! On the Stour, on the nature reserve, artifical weirs raised the water level back up by 2 meters in places. This has re wetted the wetland and helps wildlife and also the marsh once again acts as a sponge taking up excess water preventing flooding downstream. It will be good to see such work on a smaller scale on the Hoo Brook.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your comment, Andy.

    Yes I agree. I am concerned, though, that obstructions in the River Stour and Hoo Brook might create rubbish rafts, and we want to avoid these at all costs. The River Stour is very powerful when in high flood, and is certainly capable of breaking up most rubbish rafts and sending them careering into the River Severn. Also, a log structure pinned to the river or brook bed might silt up and produce an island, similar to the one that has grown at the River Stour/Hoo Brook confluence. However, a trial is what is needed in my view. Don’t forget that the power of the Stour quickly destroyed locks that were installed many years ago in an attempt to make the river navigable, further upstream of the marsh.

    The natural dam in Hoo Brook, created by the fallen tree, has become an effective rubbish catcher. So I think EA need to think carefully about how they approach pinning structures in the River Stour, but I think the idea might work well in Hoo Brook.


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