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Twizell Burn Catchment Restoration

Twizell Burn Catchment Partnership Action Fund (CPAF)Evidence and Learning

CPAF Fish Passage Monitoring Plan

Over View

CPAF funding which was originally allocated for wetland construction has been reallocated to fish passage improvements in the lower catchment. This was agreed with the EA CPAF team as there was uncertainty surrounding great crested newt populations in the area surrounding the proposed wetland. CPAF Project timescales did not allow for surveys to be carried out during the recommended window and funding could not be rolled forward to early 2016/17.

Two structures have been identified in the Pelton Fell area which are impacting on the movement of fish up to Grange Villa where there is a significant barrier requiring very large scale high cost mitigation to enable passage into the upper catchment. Mitigation of these two structures will contribute to the practicable cost-effective part re-naturalisation of this Heavily Modified Waterbody. The Twizell catchment is effectively divided into three sections by major channel modifications. The CPAF works will contribute to ecological improvement on the low section.

  • Low Section: Cong Burn confluence to Grange Villa
  • Mid Section: Grange Villa to Memorial Park Culvert exit
  • Top Section: Memorial Park entrance to source

The first structure is a concrete bridge apron (NZ2547451792) which has shallow fast moving water flowing over it and a step at the downstream end. WRT will be working alongside local anglers and DCC to install a series of baffles which will provide sufficient depth and flow velocities for all species of fish to pass. A small rock ramp will also be created at the downstream step to allow minor species access into the channel. See photograph 1 on page 2.

The second structure is an abandoned concrete structure (NZ2578351641) built on top of a bedrock shelf. The structure stands around 2m high and is considered to be completely impassable to salmonids. As the structure is built on top of bedrock, only the concrete will be removed, reducing the height to approximately 1m which will be passable to large migratory salmonids.  See photograph 2 on page 2.

Data collection and monitoring plan

Data sets being collected at both sites through the and beyond the project period include:

  • Geomorphology and habitat assessment
  • Fixed point photography
  • Time lapse camera
  • Voluntary passage efficiency monitoring
  • Before and after efish population surveys

The construction phase for both structures will take place between February and March 2016. Collection of post construction fish passage can only carried out between July and September. Upstream movement of salmonids is generally witnessed between September and November. There is limited existing efish data on the Twizell which will be used if possible to create a baseline. Post implementation efish data will be collected during the 2016 season outside the  Evidence and Learning project period, which will funded by WRT, written up as an appendix to the E&L report and included as retrospective match.

Data collection between now and end March 2016 will therefore involve collection of geomorphology and habitat quality, fixed point photography and time lapse camera during construction.

Once construction has been completed, local anglers will monitor the passage efficiency of the easements using video cameras to capture fish movements over the easements, supplementing WRT efish data.

Photograph 1 - Pelton Bridge Apron


Photograph 2 – Concrete step structure


Twizell Burn Catchment Restoration Partnership




Our rivers run through our communities like the veins in our bodies

Their water, like our blood, makes life possible
The healthier they are, the healthier we are

Together, we can work to protect and improve our river for ourselves and each other


Greening Twizell Partnership

In 2014 Groundwork North-East produced a Green  Infrastructure Masterplan for the Twizell Burn. During this process the Greening Twizell Partnership  was born, bringing together partners from the local area to develop and deliver environmental conservation projects to enhance and protect the Twizell Burn. Since the Twizell Greening Partnership was established a wide range of projects have been identified which will improve water quality, wildlife and accessibility for the general public. Partners are now delivering these projects in the area,  You can find the Masterplan online at

Progress so far….

The Wear Catchment Partnership have worked together across the Twizell Burn, over the last two years to involve the local community in habitat creation and improvement. Partners have made considerable investment in resource to this catchment over that period, including:


  • Twizell Burn ‘Week of Action’
  • Deployment of sewer level monitors on combined sewage outfalls (CSOs) to monitor operations during heavy rainfall events
  • Installation of secondary screening on selected CSOs to intercept litter
  • Development of a Surface Water Management Plan for the whole catchment
  • South Moor housing regeneration project
  • Development of a Green Infrastructure Master Plan
  • Deployment of water quality sampling equipment to determine pollution sources and pathways
  • Improved storage at council salt stores
  • Employment of local ‘River Rangers’ in voluntary catchment walkovers
  • Memorial Park footpath upgrades (Stanley Town Council)
  • Preparation of a Heritage Lottery Funding Project to improve public access and wildlife habitats



All of this activity has resulted in the development of the following projects

Secure the Headwaters—This project aims to secure the headwaters water quality through the creation of wetlands which will remove harmful contaminants leaching out of historical industrial areas and runoff from urban areas and highways.

Living Waterways—Identification of locations suitable for Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) to reduce surface water flooding and reduce CSO operations to improve water quality and enhance the local living environment. In-stream habitat improvements will also be delivered to increase fish and invertebrate populations.


Fish passage improvements – Two barriers have been identified which are preventing fish access into the Twizell Burn catchment. Both are located in Pelton Fell and will be addressed early 2016 to open up important spawning habitat for all fish species.   

Get involve

If you would like to get involved and help us restore the Twizell Burn, please feel to get in touch. We are looking for assistance with the following:

  • Simple water quality monitoring and/or sample collection to focus restoration work
  • Flow monitoring to understand how much water is in the burn and to help with wetland design
  • Walkovers to ‘map’ or provide detailed information on the catchment feeding the burn
  • Regular patrolling or ‘ranging’ to record any river-related issues
  • Heritage and health walk guides to share their local   knowledge with  others
  • Practical habitat improvement tasks to enhance the burn for fish and other wildlife




Greening Twizell Partnership



























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