Work is progressing well on the huge outfall sluice that will connect Langford Lowfields to the River Trent. Once completed it will allow us to evacuate excess water quickly from the reserve and also allow eels and potentially other fish to swim in the opposite direction so they can take up residence in our beautiful reedbed. The timescale has shifted slightly and we're now looking at a completion date of the end of October, after this point however the northern section of the reserve will once again be opened up to the public (please note that the floating bridge is still also closed at the moment due to very low water levels).
The outfall sluice is going to be the largest fresh water control structure on any RSPB reserve and is going to greatly benefit both our management of the wetland habitats and the wildlife that lives in them.
The big 2 meter diameter sections of pipe that will link the reserve to the river should be going in next week.
All the concrete work has now been completed on the inlet end of the structure, looking at the photo below the wooden boards at the right hand end of the structure show where the 2m diameter pipes will attach. Within this concrete housing will sit the huge tilting weir that will allow us to precisely control water levels on the reserve, raising the weir will hold water in the reedbeds, whilst lowering it will allow water to flow out into the river. This will be particularly beneficial following any future flooding events, but also on an annual basis it will allow us to maintain high water levels during the winter and spring, with levels then being gradually reduced as summer comes on.
The photo below is looking into the concrete structure from the reserve end, with the tilting weir to be installed within the next couple of weeks at the dividing point in the middle of the structure. It's a bit tricky to see from this photo, but on the right hand side of the inner wall, just before the central divide, you can see a small opening just above the concrete floor, this is the opening to the eel pass, through which the eels can swim if they need to bypass the tilting weir.