Saturday, 26 May 2012

Fobney Island 'paradise' reborn

In January 2011 plans to redevelop Fobney Island into a wetland wildlife sanctuary were brought into question due to funding issues.  Fortunately, the regeneration project started at the end of that year, and the site is now beginning to show signs of recovery.

The regeneration works area remains fenced off at the time of writing.

Access for heavy plant was provided across the riverine section of the Kennet to the south of Fobney Island.

The site looked rather bleak in January 2012...

...but was showing signs of recovery by March 2012.

Although it still has some way to go before being reopened...

...a gaggle of Canadian Geese and their young (+ a cormorant and a heron) were all spotted already enjoying the new pond areas today.

With regard to paddling the short 830m riverine section below the weir and back down to the Navigation, this section has been made potentially and marginally more  'interesting' by the introduction of two riffles (gravel beds to encourage fish spawning), and five trees that have been deliberately dropped into the river as Large Woody Debris (LWD) environmental features.

The artificial riffles created on the riverine section of the Kennet should be avoided in low water to prevent environmental damage (or accusations of such).

If paddling between June 16th and March 14th (inclusive) be aware that anglers will now be located on the southern bank (river right) and although trees have been cut back to allow for casting (and to let more light reach the water) their newly cut out emplacements may be more difficult to spot.  Whilst, conversely, keeping river left should also help in avoiding the hazard of the trees on the right note that there will be no access across the island, and although there are paths cut behind the angling spots, Reading and District Angling Association intend to gate these at each end of this section.

A broadened point in the River Kennet on the south of Fobney Island is part of the effort to restore this section of the waterway to a more naturalised flow regime.