Is sediment increasing in the River Deben?

by Robin Whittle

Low tide adjacent to Sutton marshes

The Deben became tidal at Felixstowe Ferry about 6000 years ago.  Today the river is tidal up to Ufford, two miles upstream of Woodbridge.  During this period sea borne sediment has built up the saltmarsh in the lower reaches to a depth of 12m.

Over the last 500 years river walls of mud and clay have been built along both sides of the tidal estuary to create arable land and grazing marshes.  Since then, sediment has continued to build up the saltmarshes and mud flats lying in front of the river walls. However, saltmarsh is now under increasing attack from wave action and shore crab burrowing. Continue reading

AGM Report – Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust – The State of our Rivers Report

The East Suffolk Rivers area of 1,364 km2 encompasses the valleys, waterbodies, tributaries and estuaries of the Rivers Gipping (Orwell), Deben, Alde and Ore, Thorpeness Hundred, Yox, Blyth and Lothingland Hundred.

This area is mostly rural with significant urban areas at Felixstowe, Ipswich, Woodbridge, Wickham Market, Stowmarket, Saxmundham, Halesworth, Southwold and Kessingland.

Agriculture is the predominant land use (root veg and pig farming in the east and arable). Other pockets of land-based industry exist, including food processing, milling, malting and the manufacture of farm machinery and fertilisers.

The attached report by the Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust looks at the current state of these Suffolks Rivers.

 

Overview of Sewage Overflows

By Liz Hattan

The East Anglian Daily Times recently published an article on sewage overflows into Suffolk rivers (October 26th 2021), highlighting those rivers with the highest number of spills in 2020.  The River Deben had 40 spills at its Deben Road overflow, totalling 18 hours. Other rivers such as the River Thet fared worse with over 1100 hours of spills at Badwell Ash, and some sites in the other parts of the country have seen thousands of hours of spills (see Rivers Trust interactive map for local data Is my river fit to play in?’  https://arcg.is/19LiCa).  Nationally, the number of spills is high with over 400,000 monitored spills (around 3.1million hours) in 2020 into English rivers and many more unmonitored ones.

So why are there are so many spills, why does it matter and what is being done to address the problem? This is a high profile issue with considerable political, media and public scrutiny. This article looks at some of the challenges. Continue reading

Our birds on the Deben – what can we do to help them? Focus on the redshank

By Sally Westwood

In 2021, Suffolk Coast & Heath Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) selected the Redshank1 as their flagship bird as a part of their Nature Recovery Plan2. Commendably, they called for volunteers to help with the project of protecting the Redshank including their nesting habitat. Redshanks are present on the River Deben but I have only ever seen one feeding along the river’s edge, on my river walk. I thought it might be interesting for the reader to have some insight on the background of Suffolk Coast & Heath AONB’s Nature Recovery intervention and the plight not only of the Redshank, but as we might have suspected, a considerable number of species of birds, that visit the Deben. It is not a comfortable read, however, the good news is, steps are being taken to stop the decline in species.

Continue reading

How Can We Do Our Bit to Help the Climate Crisis?

By Gary Rogers

In the light of COP26 we should all be questioning our energy use. As boat dwellers we aren’t eligible for government grants and feed in tariffs but that shouldn’t stop us taking steps to a more sustainable energy use.

As an Electronic Design Engineer living afloat for the last 30 years, I have inevitably tried and tested a multitude of off grid solutions, some more successful than others.

Tijdstroom, the Dutch barge Gary and his wife Bev live on, during the 2020-2021 winter

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The Electric Mist

By Russell Read

This article is prompted by the enthusiastic piece from Matt Lis in The Deben Magazine for Autumn 2021 which suggests that there is a strong case for larger boats than Josh Masters’ launch to go electric.  Well, the 1907 26’6” Albert Strange-designed canoe-yawl Mist is one very classic yacht which, originally intended to be engineless, has already done this.

Continue reading

Lightning Craft

by Josh Masters


Photo: Claudia Myatt

Introduction from Julia Jones (RDA Journal Editor):

I am one of many river users who is currently wondering what I can do to reduce my carbon emissions. The RYA (Royal Yachting Association) has recently published their aspiration to make the UK’s recreational boating sector zero carbon by 2050 with a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from boat engines by 2030. https://www.rya.org.uk/about-us/policies/environment-and-sustainability

It’s perhaps easier to see what can be done with new-build boats than with yachts like mine, built as a motor-sailor in 1946. While I can safely undertake to use my sails as frequently as possible (that’s the joy of being a water-born hybrid) it will remain impossible to push one’s way out of the narrow Deben entrance against a spring flood if the wind is adverse. Continue reading

Maintenance of the River Wall to Flood Cell 01 on the River Deben

By Robin Whittle

Introduction.  This article describes an investigation concerning the maintenance of the river wall to Flood Cell 01.  This has led to an understanding of how the raising of any river wall in the estuary will affect the possible flooding of other flood cells.  The work has resulted in providing the landowners with the results and a proposal for a protocol for the maintenance of the river walls.

Figure 1 (taken from the Deben Estuary Plan, 20151) shows the topography of the flood cells.


Figure 1: Topography of the flood cells

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Oystercatchers on the Deben

By Sally Westwood

The Oystercatcher lifted itself up, its legs unfolding slowly, and stepped out of the central space of a coiled rope. An egg lay in the space, the rope provided a wall for the nest. The nest was on the top of a 50-60 foot, river maintenance vessel. The boat was used for clearing channels and ditches, effectively keeping the river flowing. It had a crane at one end, and a vast square hold in the centre. The Oystercatchers had their nest on a flat surface at the other end of the vessel. The Oystercatcher called four times, at the edge of the vessel. Its mate arrived, and landed on a rusty, round, steel stanchion. It walked over to the nest, stepped in and lowered itself down onto the egg. Adjusting itself by wobbling from side to side, to comfortably cover the speckled egg. Eggs are incubated for 24 to 35 days.1 The other Oystercatcher flew off to the blades of grass and green weed at the edge of the water, abundant because of the warm weather. Tide was high and coming in. That was day eight, for the egg in the rope. Continue reading