Taming the Tame has involved lots of work aiming to restore around 200m of the River Tame at Tameside Local Nature Reserve, Tamworth.
Previous work in 2009 by the Environment Agency, Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust achieved initial improvements by pulling back the banks, creating scrapes and small ponds, and establishing the beginnings of a fish refuge. However, later phases of the project were not completed at this time, meaning more work was required to finish the river improvements. Thus, the Taming the Tame project, carried out by Tame Valley Wetlands with funding from our National Heritage Lottery Fund, aimed to create further structural improvements and develop habitats for fish, birds and other animals.
One of the main targets of the Taming the Tame project was to create a backwater channel off the River Tame. This would provide an area of water shallower than the main channel, to offer important sheltered habitats and create a refuge and spawning environment for fish and fry. Alongside helping to sustain the fish populations, the channel improvements also made the river a suitable potential habitat for water vole. Remnant populations of water voles may have already existed in the river, or may be re-introduced in the future. This means the river will provide an opportunity to expand the water vole populations in the area.
A second aim was to create an island in the river structure, to act as an important habitat for ground nesting birds. The bank might even offer a safe place for otters using the River Tame to take shelter! Trees and shrubs planted on the island, as well as various artificial habitats such as bird nest boxes, bat boxes and reptile tiles are vital for enhancing the quality of the river as a habitat for a variety of wildlife species.
Moreover, the designing and installing of a sand martin bank was important for providing habitats to birds. We managed to achieve our target of building 1 sand martin hotel.
Completing the Taming the Tame project has been beneficial in making the River Tame a better environment for the growth and success of plants and animals in the area, as well as improving the river for the public.