Maxey Cut Improvements
Location: Maxey Cut, Tallington
Lead Organisation/s: The Environment Agency
Funding Sources: The Water Framework Directive Grant in Aid through the Environment Agency.
The Maxey Cut is a man-made drainage channel taking water away from the River Welland, returning it after the river passes Market Deeping and Deeping St. James. Water entering the Maxey Cut is maintained and controlled by large weir. Unfortunately, this weir was acting as a substantial barrier to fish and eel migration, leaving thousands of fish stranded each year.
Previous work on the Maxey Cut drainage has seen the Environment Agency resolve the migration-barrier issue through the introduction of a fish and eel pass. In addition, the EA set out to determine whether methods could be developed and applied that would encourage the formation of more natural marginal features and channel dimensions within this artificial flood channel. The project put a series of large, partially submerged vanes into the channel and monitored their performance over a winter-flood period. The aim was to show that such designs can enhance or accelerate the existing ‘natural’ channel narrowing, while also creating a more diverse bed structure. By initiating these trials in a 600m-reach, the methods can be extended to the remaining 11km stretch. It is also hoped that the evidence being collected can show sea trout migrating to sea and back. This could then be used to classify the Welland Catchment as a migratory salmonid river system, adding greater legal protection.
The 2016 phase has now been completed with the installation of an additional 23 sets of paired flow deflectors. These flow deflectors help create flow turbulence in the centre of the channel to encourage sediment scouring, preventing sediment build up and clogging. In addition, new grass cutting machinery is being trialled which will be used to maintain the low vegetated berms. Permits have now been applied for to complete improvement works in the remaining 11km stretch of the Cut.