This saltmarsh restoration trial is one of a number of projects that involves installing biodegradable potato starch lattices on the river bank to capture sediment on incoming tides, which encourages vegetation hummocks to form in the centre of the lattice. This mimics what would naturally happen around individual saltmarsh plants.
Saltmarsh is coastal grassland that is regularly flooded by sea water. Salt-tolerant plants thrive in this zone and provide valuable feeding and breeding areas for wildlife. Saltmarsh also acts as a natural flood defence, improves water quality, and captures and stores carbon.
We will be monitoring how the sediment builds up on the lattices and how vegetation develops over time to understand how beneficial the lattices will be for future saltmarsh restoration projects. The lattices will biodegrade within 10-15 years.
Groundwork North East are working jointly with Natural England, South Tyneside Council, Sunderland Council, Gateshead Council, and JBA Consulting. There are trial sites at Baron’s Quay in North Hylton, Sunderland, Jarrow Slake in South Tyneside and near Dunston Staiths in Gateshead.
For more information on related estuary and coastal projects, please use the links below: