River of Life II project aims
To enhance the biodiversity of the floodplain sites through the creation of key wetland habitats
Three of the project’s sites are within the floodplain of the River Thames or River Thame (Clifton Meadow, Church Farm and Overy Mead). Work here will create 16 ponds and seven backwater channels which connect to the main river to provide refuge habitat for fish, and a wealth of other wildlife. The works at these locations involves the movement of approximately 44,000m3 of spoil in order to shape the new wetland features.
To create additional breeding ponds for great crested newts within Little Wittenham Wood
The fourth project location is Little Wittenham Wood, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), designated due to the population of great crested newts it supports. The Site Improvement Plan for Little Wittenham Wood, written by Natural England, lists a key objective as the creation of new ponds to provide additional breeding habitat for Great Crested Newts. The project will design and build approximately six new ponds at the centre of the wood helping to increase the amphibian numbers and make the population more robust and less susceptible to local extinctions.
To install site access furniture
The project will put in place structures such as boardwalks and directional signage to enable people to easily access wetland ecosystems both within the original River of Life project area and to some of the newly created wetland features.