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The University of Southampton

CENV6172 River and Estuary Restoration

Module Overview

To critically examine current knowledge of the application of River Restoration techniques and their transferability to the UK and worldwide. As many river restoration projects are done to improve the status of fisheries, the costs and benefits of techniques from the perspective of fish populations will be considered. To critically review and evaluate the philosophies, policies and methods available for river restoration. To enable the student to find, review, interpret, critically evaluate and present arguments for alternative river restoration approaches and methodologies.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To provide a formal training in aspects of River Restoration and Fisheries Management. • To provide an understanding of the holistic approach to River Restoration based on knowledge of catchment scale processes ranging to fine-scale mechanisms that underpin observed biological responses. • To provide an opportunity to conduct an in-depth critique of restoration activities taking place in different regions around the world. • To provide an opportunity to visit sites of river restoration in the UK to see first-hand issues related to these. • To interact with practitioners working in the field of river restoration and again insight into common problems encountered and methods adopted in an attempt to find solutions to these. • To provide transferable skills in information gathering and technical writing.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the need for both a multi-disciplinary and an interdisciplinary approach in advancing knowledge and understanding of Earth systems, drawing, as appropriate, from the natural and the social science
  • the processes which shape the natural world at different temporal and spatial scales and their influence on and by human activities
  • the terminology, nomenclature and classification systems used in environmental science
  • methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing environmental science information with a critical understanding of the appropriate contexts for their use
  • issues concerning the availability and sustainability of resources, for example, the different value sets relating to the Earth's resources as commodities and/or heritage
  • the contribution of environmental science to debate on environmental issues and how knowledge of these forms the basis for informed concern about the Earth and its people
  • the contribution of environmental science to the development of knowledge of the world we live in
  • the applicability of environmental science to the world of work
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles
  • analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research
  • applying knowledge and understanding to complex and multidimensional problems in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (eg textual, numerical, verbal, graphical)
  • communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical forms
  • using the internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information
  • identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles
  • recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members
  • evaluating performance as an individual and a team member
  • developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills)
  • identifying and working towards targets for personal, academic and career development
  • developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • planning, conducting, and reporting on environmental investigations, including the use of secondary data
  • referencing work in an appropriate manner


• Introduction to Rivers and how they operate. • Restoration of instream habitat. • Restoration of spawning habitat. • Restoration of geomorphological processes and river planform. • Restoration of riparian zones and the creation / restoration of wetland habitat. • Restoration at the catchment scale. • Setting the Scene: an introduction to the EU Water Framework Directive. • Mitigating the impacts of habitat fragmentation - fish passage. • Case studies.

Special Features

Field/site visits. For students with specials needs, an individual assessment with be made and appropriate arrangements made to ensure they are enabled to benefit from the exercise or an equivalent experience.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The theoretical background of the course will be presented through lectures (including those given by invited guest speakers); group discussion; individual presentation; field visits; and distance learning. Students will be given directed learning on a week-by-week basis which will be supported by weekly lectures / discussions ran by the module coordinator or supporting staff. The students will see examples of restoration techniques during two dedicated field visits. Directed reading, assignments, private study.

Wider reading or practice40
Follow-up work12
Completion of assessment task20
Preparation for scheduled sessions12
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Boon P., Calow P. & Petts G (1992). River Conservation and Management. 

WWF (Scotland) (2000). Farming and Watercourse Management.. 

Calow P. & Petts G. (eds) (1992). The Rivers Handbook - Hydrological and Ecological Principles,. 

Larinier M., Travade F., Parcher J.P (2002). Fishways: Biological Basis, Design Criteria and Monitoring. 

Brookes A. & Shields F. D., Jnr (eds) (1996). River Channel Restoration - Guiding Principles for Sustainable Projects. 

Environment Agency (1996 - Environment Agency publication Everard M. (2005)).  Understanding Buffer Strips. 

De Waal L.C., Large A.R.G. and Wade P.M. (eds) (1998). Rehabilitation of Rivers - Principles and Implementation. 

Cowx I.G. & Welcomme R.L. (eds) (1998). Rehabilitation of Rivers for Fish. 

Roni, P., Hanson, K., Beechie, T., Pess, G., Pollock, M, and Bartley, D. M (2005). Habitat rehabilitation for inland fisheries: global review of effectiveness and guidance for rehabilitation of freshwater ecosystems. 

Boon P.J., Davies B. R., Petts G. E. (eds (2000). Global Perspectives on River Conservation: Science, Policy and Practice.. 

Hendry K & Cragg-Hine D (1996). Restoration of Riverine Salmon Habitats; A Guidance Manual. 

Carling P.A. & Petts G.E. (Eds) (1992). Lowland Floodplain Rivers: A geomorphological perspective. 

Wolfert H.L (2001). Geomorphological Change and River Rehabilitation - Case studies on Lowland Fluvial Systems in the Netherlands. 

Summers D.W., Giles N. & Willis D.J (1996).  Restoration of Riverine Trout Habitats; A Guidance Manual. 

Calow P. & Petts G. (eds) (1994). The Rivers Handbook - Hydrological and Ecological Principles. 

Harper D.M. & Ferguson A.J.D. (eds) (1995). The Ecological Basis for River Management. 



Group Debate


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 40%
Examination 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Travel Costs for placements

You will need to provide and wear your own suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source and costs will vary depending on your preference. You will be expected to purchase your own lunch and any additional refreshments. (clothing)

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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