Water from Cockshoot on the left, and Ranworth on the right 1/3
A balanced fish population is a critical component in restoring clear water. Pike, photo by Jack Perks 2/3
Ranworth's green water will be restored to clear water like at Cockshoot Broad 3/3

£500k to tip the balance of the Broads


Thursday 09 May, 2019


Two of the largest Broads in Norfolk will have their underwater ecology ‘manipulated’ to restore their clear water and in turn the water plants that were once commonplace across Broadland’s waterways.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust  has received almost half a million pounds for its ambitious project in the Bure and Ant Valleys called ‘Tipping the Balance’.

Following lessons learned from past projects at their Cockshoot and Barton Broads, NWT will create three zones – the size of fifteen international rugby pitches - separated from the main water body of Ranworth and Barton Broads using floating barriers.

These areas will have their fish populations altered and balanced to restore clear water. Fish species involved in maintaining poor water quality will be removed from these zones and released elsewhere.

A balanced fish population is a critical component in restoring clear water. Fish that bottom feed can stir up nutrient-laden sediment, while other fish devour the algae grazing Daphnia (water fleas). Keeping these fish species at balanced levels over large areas of water – 10.7ha at Ranworth and 4.2ha at Barton – will restore lost water quality, allowing rare water plants such as holly-leaved naiad to flourish.

There is a cascade effect to the restoration too. The clear water ultimately makes fishing easier for birds such as osprey and common tern, as they can see the fish in the water. Because of this, the fish behave differently in clearer water and tend to hide in plants near the edge for safety, rather than out in the open water. This allows zooplankton to thrive and they are the crucial grazers of algae. The ecology of the water is therefore even further balanced.

To strengthen this effect, Essex & Suffolk Water Branch Out fund has provided support for new tern rafts to help grow the tern colonies at Ranworth.

The project will also promote the recovery of around 800 metres of emergent plants, and habitat for water voles, at the edge of Ranworth Broad. Water quality, plant regeneration and fish movements will be monitored both inside and outside these fish barriers, to assess their impact across the Broads and their associated dykes.
 

Tipping-the-balance-film
NWT Ambassador, Professor Ben Garrod meets the team and learns about Tipping the Balance in our short film


Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Pamela Abbott said:
"I think it's really exciting. It has the opportunity to be a really tranformative project. Our visitors will be able to see what we are doing and the effects of the biomanipulation. The biodiversity potential of the Broads is immense and we are hugely grateful to Biffa Award for the funding to enable us to ‘tip the balance’.”

Head of Nature Reserves at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Kevin Hart said:
“With phosphate concentrations at a 50-year low in Broads water, and nearby Hoveton Great Broad being restored under a separate biomanipulation project, we hope that Tipping the Balance will live up to its name, freeing enough open water in the Bure and Ant Valleys from the impact of high nutrients and algal domination for the entire area to become clear, healthy water as it once was.”

The project will be done alongside partners including the Broads Authority, Natural England, the Environment Agency and ECON Ecological Consultancy. It is funded by Biffa Award’s Partnership Scheme, a multi-million pound environment fund managed by Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, which uses landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services.  

Gillian French, Head of Grants, said: “Biffa Award is delighted to be able to support Norfolk Wildlife Trust in its work to restore and manage this valuable habitat. This is a long-term investment which will bring real improvements. Organisations across the country are working tirelessly to protect our natural environment, and we are keen to support more worthwhile projects such as this one.”
Share this

Top news stories

2020-04-08 New guide encourages us all to New guide encourages us all to take urgent action for insects
Wednesday 08 April, 2020
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is launching a new practical pack, Your Guide to Taking Action for Insects, which will help ev...
2020-04-03 Pay and display machines to be Pay and display machines to be installed at Cley Marshes
Friday 03 April, 2020
Car park charges for some visitors will be introduced at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley and Salthouse Marshes, t...
2020-04-02 Tune in to wildlife during tou Tune in to wildlife during tough times
Thursday 02 April, 2020
Discover wonderful online nature activities and tune in to wildlife at home this spring – new activities from N...
2020-03-22 Coronavirus and Norfolk Wildli Coronavirus and Norfolk Wildlife Trust
Sunday 22 March, 2020
​​Update: Thursday 9 April The NWT office is currently closed to the public.  If you wish to speak to a member ...
2020-03-12 Grow a secret garden for butte Grow a secret garden for butterflies!
Thursday 12 March, 2020
This year’s Wild About Gardens campaign, run jointly by The Wildlife Trusts and Royal Horticultural Society (RH...
2020-03-06 Council must seize opportuniti Council must seize opportunities for the environment
Friday 06 March, 2020
Norfolk Wildlife Trust will ask the Greater Norwich planning team to follow the lead of other Councils and set strong...
2020-03-05 Government gives badgers a rep Government gives badgers a reprieve
Thursday 05 March, 2020
Today the Government set out the next phase of their strategy to combat bovine tuberculosis. The Wildlife Trusts &nda...
2020-02-28 Celebrating 25 years of clean Celebrating 25 years of clean clear water
Friday 28 February, 2020
A reed cutting day, country crafts and bat and moth evenings on boats are just some of the celebration events planned...
2020-02-11 HS2 decision will destroy prec HS2 decision will destroy precious wild places
Tuesday 11 February, 2020
Today the Government gave the green light to the High Speed 2 rail project, without acknowledging the devastating imp...
2020-02-03 NDR Western Link - Net Gain is NDR Western Link - Net Gain is not enough
Monday 03 February, 2020
The inclusion of Defra’s targets for ‘Biodiversity Net Gain’ in Norfolk County Council’s prop...
2020-02-02 World Wetlands Day World Wetlands Day
Sunday 02 February, 2020
The preservation of Norfolk’s wetlands depends on active, ongoing management, says Norfolk Wildlife Trust on Wo...
2020-01-31 Government’s landmark Environm Government’s landmark Environment Bill finally returns to Parliament
Friday 31 January, 2020
The Environment Bill is an important first step towards nature’s recovery, but several crucial improvements are...