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Dominic Carver

Impact of removing a small impounding weir.


Project title

Investigating the hydromorphological implications of weir removal for the River Ehen Special Area of Conservation


Project description

The fragmentation and alteration of flow regimes have had a significant detrimental impact on aquatic ecosystems worldwide. Removing dams, weirs and impounding infrastructure is often deemed a cost-effective technique for rapidly restoring and reconnecting riverine habitats.

This project investigates the impact of removing a small impounding weir from Ennerdale Water in the Lake District, UK.

The area is of high ecological and cultural value. Potential changes to the environment and their impacts need to be assessed. Due to the age of the dam, we know little about the environmental conditions before its construction. Questions of particular interest are:

  1. How will dam removal alter the landscape?
  2. How will the volume and flow of water in the lake and downstream river be affected?

To answer these questions, we are undertaking:

  • analysis of existing and newly gathered field data (river flows, rainfall, lake level)
  • engagement with key stakeholders (Environment Agency, Natural England, West Cumbria Rivers Trust)
  • computer modelling

The Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and United Utilities Group PLC are co-funding the research through the STREAM Industrial Doctorate Centre.