The River Stour Internal Drainage Board (IDB) is a public sector organisation which is responsible for land drainage in the River Stour area, as well as flood protection. The IDB works on behalf of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to reduce flooding on agricultural, residential and industrial land. Board members are appointed by district councils and elected by land drainage ratepayers. In order to maintain water levels at a safe and suitable level the IDB carries out an annual programme of maintenance works.
We produced a Biodiversity Action Plan for the IDB in 2010 and surveyed their entire network of over 200 watercourses over the following 5 years. During these surveys we recorded wildlife habitat, species of conservation interest and physical features. The data generated was then used to create a set of management recommendations for each watercourse which would protect habitat for many key species, while maintaining their primary function of drainage and irrigation. Since 2015, we have been carrying out follow-up surveys to find out what effect our recommendations are having. We have also worked on several enhancement projects, including the manual removal of invasive Parrot’s Feather from ditches at Wade Marsh – pictured.