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 understand sensible strategies for managing freshwaters in the face of environmental change throughout Europe.

Managing freshwater systems is challenging, even without planning for the effects of changes in climate, land use, acid deposition and water resources. The new research aims to improve our understanding of the potential costs and effects of different adaptation and mitigation measures, by studying biogeochemical and ecological changes of lakes, rivers and wetlands.

There are eight catchment study sites, representing a gradient of climate conditions across Europe. One of these is the Dee catchment, and the James Hutton Institute is the partner responsible for doing the research in this area. We are keen that many aspects of the project should involve those involved in catchment management and are working with the Dee Catchment Partnership to help achieve this.

A leaflet summarising the views of workshop participants as well as a full report are available to download. More information about the REFRESH project can be found on the James Hutton Institute's website at http://www.macaulay.ac.uk/projects/projectdetails.php?105466 and on the REFRESH project website

Highlights

November 2011

An early part of the project was to learn about how existing policy measures designed to encourage sustainable use and protection of freshwater do (or don't) influence decisions 'on the ground'. To help us understand barriers that might discourage land managers from responding to policies we would like to give land managers in the Dee catchment an opportunity to share their views with us. For example, about financial barriers to changing management practices, or a lack of access to demonstration sites. We ran a one-day workshop in November 2011 to discuss these issues.  The workshop focussed on barriers to adopting existing measures or changes in land-management practices, which influence water.  Anyone with any interest in finding out more about this workshop (or any other aspect of REFRESH) contact Kerry Waylen at JHI (k.waylen@hutton.ac.uk, 01224 395313).

We hope that those who took part in this REFRESH workshop found it interesting and useful to participate in, discuss and reflect on our research as well as other aspects of catchment management.

May 2012

A workshop was held in Dunecht on 3 February 2012 to discuss water quality problems in the Leuchar Burn / Loch of Skene catchment area. Scientists from the James Hutton Institute hosted the workshop that brought together 12 local stakeholders including policy makers, regulators, farmers and practitioners, to discuss measures to improve water quality in the Loch of Skene and Leuchar Burn area.

Participants included representatives from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Dunecht Estate, Aberdeenshire Council, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Loch of Skene Access Group, farmers, and the Dee Catchment Partnership Project Officer.

Participants carried out three main tasks:
1. identify water quality problems in the sub-catchment and the sources of these pressures,
2. consider what actions would alleviate these problems, and the cost-effectiveness of such measures,
3. discuss predicted future climate changes, their impact on water quality, and possible actions to help mitigate impact and adapt to new conditions.

REFRESH report published

15 November 2013

The EU REFRESH project that has been using the Dee catchment as a case study. The work investigated the cost-effectiveness of various measures that farmers might take in order to comply with the EU Water Framework (WFD) and Habitats Directives’ (HD) targets. Whether or not these measures are disproportionate was a key question.

The work focused mainly on the impacts of agricultural land use and wastewater treatment works (WWTWs) in the Loch of Skene/Leuchar Burn Tarland Burn catchments).

Nitrogen (N) in Tarland and phosphorus (P) Loch of Skene/Leuchar were identified as the key pressures.

  • c/o James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH
  • T: 01224 395141
  • E: info@theriverdee.org