Natural Flood Management

'Natural flood management' refers to using natural or semi-natural engineering to slow the rate at which water moves through a river system. Examples include tree planting to help hold back water cause it to infiltrate the soil; creating low earth bunds in fields to hold back water and soil runoff for short periods fo time; creating riverfloodplains; and renaturalising the shape of river channels. These techniques are new to the Dee but could be very beneficial in holding back floodwaters and the sediment they carry. We are investigating which techniques will be most beneficial, identifying suitable locations, discussing options with land managers, and creating demonstration sites.

Natural flood management is not suitable for all locations, but can be an effective technique in many areas. As this is a new undertaking for the Dee we are starting by producing a map to show the locations where natural flood management could be located most effectively. This involves modelling the way that water runs off the land and through the river system, to identify the areas where runoff can be intercepted effectively by more natural measures.

On the ground, we are making a start on developing NFM sites in the Tarland catchment on the MacRobert Trust estate. This sub catchment benefits from a large and developing netrowk of fenced field margins (buffer strips) with one field bund up and running, and several more ready for construction. We are also looking at options for placing leaky wood barriers in some streams. There is an ongoing exercise to design a new renaturalised course for the Tarland Burn betwen Tarland village and Coull Bridge, a detailed design is being drawn up and we will be consulting the local community on this.

To discuss these ideas, weare holding a workshop for farmers and other land managers to discuss NFM. This will include presentations from other areas already using these techniques such as the Tweed Forum.

  • c/o James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH
  • T: 01224 395141
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