River restoration – Osbaldwick Beck

This case study focuses on the proposed river restoration going on at Osbaldwick Beck as it is obstructed by two weirs in Hull road park and then culverts (gets buried underground) at St. Nick’s Environment centre. The restoration project has begun through a partial removal of the upper and lower weirs which has lowered the levels of the water through the park allowing for more of a flow to return to the beck which is now a lot more narrow as it begins to find its way through the park.

On the one hand this now means how people relate to this blue-green space has changed. There may be a sense of loss for the ducks who lived in this space, though they may find habitats up and downstream. Aesthetically, the difference is stark; what was once a stagnant duck pond has now effectively been drained to reveal decades of siltation and littering in the park which can be a shocking sight evoking sadness or even frustration.

On the other hand, making a new course for the river may mean lots of possibilities both for people and for wildlife. There may be new opportunities – to spot wildlife, to get closer to the water, to help communicate the ecological values of the space to the wider community. Also what happens if we think about this project from a different perspective, say that of the river or the more-than human world of wildlife that also live with the rivers? Does the river want to flow in this new direction? Will creatures appreciate this new route? What might the benefits of this project be and for whom? These questions and more will be the basis of the inquiry in this case study.