Habitats & Wildlife

Hover over the blue buttons to find out about the wildlife that these habitats support

Riffles

Shallow, fast-flowing water over gravels or cobbles, disturbing the water’s surface. Ideal for fish feeding areas and act as shelter from predators. Salmon, lamprey and trout use the well oxygenated water as egg nest sites.

Glides

Deep, smooth waters with a medium flow over sand or gravel. These areas support less biodiversity than riffles and predominantly plant life.

Pools

Extremely deep and slow moving water, providing shelter and food to rich wildlife.

Backwaters

Wet areas with no flow during normal flow conditions. Provide a respite area for fish, breading habitat for dragonflies and nursery areas for lampreys. Backwaters are refreshed during high flows and storms.

Aquatic Macrophyte Beds

Complex, physical structures that trap sediment, slow flow and increase nutrient and oxygen levels. They provide food, shelter and spawning sites to many river fish, invertebrates and amphibians.

Tree Roots and Woody Material

Stabilises sediment, increases physical habitat availability and improves water quality. Woody debris interrupts flow creating respite areas for fish (pools and eddies), shade and a surface for algae, fungi, bacteria, plants & insects to grow.

Exposed Sediment

Provides habitat for several rare or endangered species of plants and invertebrates (including ground beetles, spiders and craneflies).

River Banks

Specialist habitats for species that can use the steep banks for protection (e.g. otters, water voles, nesting sand martins and kingfishers).

River-Bank Vegetation

With communities ranging from woodlands to grasslands, these provide food and shelter to both aquatic and terrestrial species, including bats and birds.

Floodplain Water Features

Habitats (e.g. oxbow lakes, permanent wetlands, flushes, bogs, wet woodland and reedbeds) support wading birds, amphibians, dragon flies, bats and reptiles by provide shelter and food.

Floodplain Meadows

Declining environments due to lack of management and alternative land use (agriculture/development), but have significant conservation value due to food supply and the abundance of biodiversity supported (particularly insects).

Rapids & Cascades

Gradients create high water speeds and torrential conditions. Large boulders provide shelter to invertebrates and fish.

Rivers are globally important for wildlife, supporting rich and varied animal and plant communities with a wide variety of shelter, breeding and feeding opportunities. The dynamics of a river are determined by the underlying geology that supports it. In East Anglia we are blessed with a number of chalk streams that support unique wildlife and provide crystal clear waters. Rivers are associated with many habitat types.

(information from River Restoration and Biodiversity).

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