The role of riparian shade in controlling stream water temperature in a changing climate
Our research project investigates the role of riparian woodland in controlling stream water temperature through the provision of shade. Observations in recent summers show that stream water temperatures in open streams draining southern England can greatly exceed tolerance levels for salmon and trout. The situation is expected to get worse with average temperatures predicted to rise by between 2 and 5 ºC by the end of this century. The influence of riparian woodland in limiting rises in water terperature is being investigated at several sites in England and Scotland.
Investigate the role of riparian woodland in the protection of Freshwater Pearl Mussel
A joint field study with Southampton University was set up in the New Forest to evaluate the cooling effect of riparian shade.
Twenty sites with variable levels of shade on the Dockens Water and Ober Water have been instrumented to characterise the thermal regime and assess the effects of shading on streamwater temperature and on fish populations, including fish survival, growth rates and behaviour.
The results will help to determine whether thermal stress poses a serious problem in these watercourses and if so, how riparian woodland management could help to protect the freshwater life from future rises in water temperature.