Special reason to save Hertfordshire river

PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 August 2012

The River Mimram at Tewinbury SSSI

The River Mimram at Tewinbury SSSI

Archant

ONE of the jewels in the crown of the River Mimram is the Site of Special Scientific Interest at Tewinbury.

Robin Cole, voluntary warden for the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, said the area contained a “mosaic of wetland habitats”.

He said: “These include a lagoon where one can frequently see water voles and little grebes (‘dabchicks’) from a new two-storey hide, a reed bed with a colony of breeding reed warblers in summer, and roosting yellowhammers and reed buntings in winter.

“Wet meadows also hold locally rare flowers such as golden saxifrage and southern marsh orchids.

“Another habitat is the alder woodland, the climax vegetation in lowland valleys, which attracts flocks of siskins in winter feeding on their cones.”

Mr Cole said: “The most interesting habitat of all is of course the clean, cool, clear, bubbling waters of the River Mimram.

“This passes through the SSSI and holds a lot of chalk stream specialist invertebrates such as fresh water shrimps, and the larva of may flies, stone flies and caddis flies – the food of fish such as trout and grayling.”

And Mr Cole underlined the importance of a fully flowing river to maintain the level of wildlife – giving his backing to our campaign to save the Mimram.

He said: “These habitats all depend on maintaining good river flows and a high water table.

“Recent research here has shown how kingfishers and reed warblers are susceptible to reduced flows, and low water levels that have occurred with increased frequency in recent years.

“Long term habitat management is carried out by the HMWT, but to restore and enhance the habitats, it is necessary to reduce the water abstraction from the aquifer upstream.”


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