Soil is a vital component of the natural environment. Not only does it influence the distribution of plant species and provide habitat for a wide arrange of organisms but is obviously key to agriculture as well. Soil erosion is a naturally occurring process whereby soil is transported by wind and water. When natural vegetation is cleared and the topsoil ploughed, the exposed soils may often be blown away by wind or washed away by rain. Not only does this impact on the productivity of arable land but the erosion gullies formed will also encroach into natural vegetation. The loss of soil will also lead to impacts on watercourses and river systems.
Turbidity of water is the measurement of how cloudy or murky it is and it is caused by particles such as silt, clay and organic material suspended in water. Turbidity within rivers can influence ecosystem health as well as the fish, amphibians and other aquatic life that occur within them. Freshwater fish can be affected by fine particles within water through the reduction of growth rates, their resistance to disease, the prevention of the successful development of eggs and larvae and the reduction of available food.
The Watercourse Restoration Project has focused on soil erosion control along river systems to prevent the further impact of erosion caused by increased runoff on transformed lands. These interventions prevent the loss of topsoil, breaks the speed of water, catch sediment and will have a positive effect on both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The projects will be monitored through fixed point photography to determine the success of the reclamation project as well as the effectivity of the management intervention implemented.