They're in! The gabion structure is now in place, supporting the freshwater marsh's outfall pipes within the east saltmarsh. They're functioning beautifully, and the lower water levels at the beginning of the week attracted increased numbers of waders, including 2000+ Golden Plover, 1000 Lapwing, Avocets, and Ruff.

Our Warden, Ryan, delighted by being able to lower water levels - photo credit: Hayley Roan

As you know from following our progress, we've chosen to support the outfall pipes using gabions filled with stone, a softer and more environmentally-friendly alternative to hard steel pilings. These gabions will quickly accumulate silt and vegetation, seamlessly integrating into the surrounding saltmarsh landscape in no time.

This vital structure will facilitate the controlled exit of freshwater from the site and ensure protection against seawater intrusion with one-way flap valves. The gabions filled with stone also help prevent erosion of the surrounding saltmarsh as water discharges, and tides ebb and flow in the saltmarsh creeks.

Functioning pipes - photo credit: Hayley Roan

We’ve got a little more finishing off to do with some rock placement to help protect against scouring or slumping of the surrounding saltmarsh but, as the gabions settle, they begin their dual role—supporting the outfall pipes and safeguarding against erosion. This significant step truly marks the beginning of a resilient future for the freshwater marsh.

Stay tuned for updates as we finish off the adjustments to the freshwater marsh over the next 10 days or so.

All the best.

Hayley Roan - Senior Sites Manager, RSPB North West Norfolk reserves.