Improving Water Quality
A water margin (or buffer strip) is a vegetated area near a stream which helps to protect a watercourse from the impact of adjacent activities. Buffer strips play an important role in protecting water quality and have become standard frontline protection for watercourses. Buffer strips have been widely created, with a rolling programme to increase coverage year on year. We estimate that there are now over 300km in the Dee catchment. A combination of funding secured through SRDP and the EU LIFE Pearls in Peril project created over 45km of water margins in the middle catchment, including some 10m wide examples on the Tarland Burn.
Creating buffer strips by fencing of the riverbank is a well-established technique, but they are developing into more sophisticated water treatment systems. The James Hutton Instute is trialling new 'Intelligent' or 'BufferTech' water margins that intercept and treat the runoff from field drains and provide biomass from vegetation growth. Water margins provide valuable protection from a wide range of impacts other than farming. We have pioneered their use to protect watercourses from the impact of development and this approach has been adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils.
The 3 Dee Vision Project carried out water quality, flood protection and biodiversity improvement works in three sub-catchments of the River Dee, with a strong focus on stakeholder engagement. The Elrick catchment had SuDS wetland implemented; the Loch Davan catchment received measures to protect watercourses from livestock; and the Tarland catchment saw the creation of 3 wetlands. The pilots helped to implement the actions of the Water Framework Directive and further improve the quality of the River Dee. Through engagement with the local community, the project raised awareness of the river environment (Dee Riverbank boxes and Tarland Mural) and encouraged good environmental practise amongst those living and working in Deeside. The 3 Dee Vision Project was part of the NOLIMP Water Framework Directive Project and was funded by the European Interreg IIIB North Sea Programme. More information can be found here.
The Aquarius project was a pilot of an EU programme (Farmers as water managers in the North Sea region) which worked in 6 countries around the North Sea, tasked with finding and implementing “sustainable, integrated land-water management through engaging with local farmers. Tarland was selected as the project area, where farmers were asked through a series of questionnaires and workshops, about there feelings on being water managers and practical ways to reduce flood risk. Extensive modelling of the area was conducted and wetland storage areas were suggested, however these were not taken forward due to more evidence being needed on their impacts. Further information can be found here.
3Dee Vision A partnership project that carried out water quality, flood protection and biodiversity improvement works in three sub-catchments of the River Dee, with a strong focus on stakeholder engagement. The Elrick catchment had S...
Aquarius Project (Farmers as water managers in the North Sea region) The Scottish pilot of an EU programme which worked in 6 countries around the North Sea, tasked with finding and implementing “sustainable, integrated land-wate...
Priority catchment Diffuse pollution priority catchments have been identified by SEPA as catchments failing to meet environmental standards. The Dee is one of fourteen priority catchments, containing some of Scotland’s most importa...
Septic Tanks Think T.A.N.K. aims to raise awareness of the pollution that can be caused from badly managed septic tanks, the need for septic tanks to be managed properly, and the benefits a well managed tank offers. To see this al...
Drain Care Guide We produced the Drain Care Guide to give householders useful information on how they can improve water quality by putting only the correct things down household drains, sinks and toilets. Following the do's and d...
Refresh Project The REFRESH Programme is investigating the effects of different water protection measures under different climate change scenarios. A new EU project called REFRESH started early in 2010. REFRESH is working to under...