Chichester District Council has joined forces with local organisations at a working party in Fishbourne this week to help protect one of the district’s rare chalk streams.
The stream runs along the eastern side of Fishbourne Roman Palace, and is one of only 200 chalk streams on the planet, providing a unique habitat for the district’s wildlife. A chalk stream is a river that provides pure water from underground chalk aquifers and springs, making them ideal for lots of animals to breed and thrive.
On Wednesday, the council’s strategic leadership team worked alongside volunteers from the Chichester and District Archaeology Society, and staff from the Roman Palace to enhance the stream.
As part of this work, silt was removed from the base of the stream and used to establish a foundation for vegetation along the east bank. Manual clearing of ivy and nettles from both banks was also carried out to allow a greater variety of plant species to become established.
As well as being a site of archaeological interest, next to a scheduled monument, this area has been identified as a biodiversity opportunity area – which recognises the potential it holds to improve biodiversity – and is one of a group of proposed wildlife corridors in the Chichester district Local Plan. The stream also supports a small population of water voles, which are a protected species.
Melanie Marsh, property manager for Fishbourne Roman Palace, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project, working alongside the district council and Chichester and District Archaeological Society, to protect the many species which call this unique stream home.”