The idea of felling trees to help nature along rivers feels counter-intuitive, but the specific technique of installing ‘tree-kickers’ has been tried and tested.
Here’s a video from the Wild Trout Trust explaining why and how it’s done:
Secure installation of felled tree-crowns or whole trees can provide vital habitat for many fish species. They can also be used to improve the variety of different micro-habitats for a whole host of plant and invertebrate species (by promoting some marginal/riverbank sediment accumulation as well as local riverbed scour on the stream-ward side). This video illustrates some ways that these valuable structures could be securely installed — but as always, the appropriate legal permissions and consents as well as any other required site-specific guidance must be obtained before carrying out such works.
And here’s a diagram illustrating how it’s done, also from the WTT:
Meanwhile, next door in Somerset, plans have been put together for later in the year:
This autumn the Wild Trout Trust with help from the Frome Town Council & Friends of the River Frome will be felling approximately 15 carefully selected trees into the river to create tree kicker features that will increase biodiversity and improve the functioning of the river ecosystem.
And here in the Sid Valley, a planning application has been put together for a Proposal for “TreeKicker” Installation in the River Sid:
23/1739/TCA | Tree G: ‘tree kicker’ habitat features in the River Sid. The felled tree is winched back to its stump and secured back to its stump with 12mm steel wire rope (10 ton B/S). | River Sid The Byes Water Lane Sidmouth
For the moment, the consultation period for this application has ended, but this might be extended, as the decision to approve or not has been deferred by the Town Council, as it is awaiting a full report on the proposal: