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Sedimentation and invasive species in rivers: Investigation in trialling of mitigation options relevant to invasive non-native species sediment inputs to rivers

Dr Megan Klaar (SoG), Mark Smith (SoG), Alison Dunn (SoB), Karen Bacon (SoG)

Project partner(s): Yorkshire Water (CASE)

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Invasive non-native species (INNS) such as Himalayan Balsam and Signal Crayfish are known to cause increased sediment erosion in river ecosystems.  This increased sediment causes a negative impact on instream biota and threatens Water Framework Directive status deterioration, as well as increased cost to river managers and water companies who must remove excess sediment to treat water to drinking standards and stabilise stream banks to limit further impact. Present management is largely ineffective due to the prevalence of these species and the lack of suitable control measures. 

This research will trial a number of different management techniques aimed at mitigating the impact of sedimentation due to INNS, in addition to improving riparian biodiversity, amenity value and ecological resilience.  The successful candidate will undertake field and possibly laboratory experiments to determine the role of INNS in river sedimentation, identify which management techniques are best suited to prevent INNS related sedimentation, and quantify any additional biodiversity, flood risk and amenity benefits INNS mitigation measures may have which will help deliver EU Water Framework Directive requirements.  

The successful candidate will benefit from collaboration and work placements with Yorkshire Water, as well as input from a variety of river managers, including environmental regulators, NGOs and local stakeholders. Immediate project impact will be assured through the roll out of the learning through Yorkshire Water’s Humber basin wide management programme during the next business plan period, and through close Environment Agency involvement in the project. Outputs will be disseminated through industry groups such as the Water UK INNS forum, chaired by Yorkshire Water, the company’s Catchment Sensitive Farming project officers who work with farmers across the region and the Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum which is supported by all involved project partners.

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Related undergraduate subjects:

  • Biodiversity
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Biology
  • Botany
  • Conservation
  • Conservation biology
  • Ecology
  • Environmental biology
  • Environmental conservation
  • Environmental management
  • Environmental science
  • Geography
  • Hydrology
  • Physical geography
  • Remote sensing
  • Sustainability and environmental management