After the wettest winter on record and widespread flooding across the UK, Alastair Driver (the National Biodiversity Manager of the Environment Agency) took to twitter to highlight the efforts into Natural Flood Management research across the UK. Some of the facts tweeted include -
- Re-wetting the Exmoor Mires by ditch-blocking has reduced storm flows to 32% of pre-restoration level.
- Installation of 6 large woody debris structures in a headstream near Belford, more than doubled the time for the peak of the flood 1km downstream.
- Culm grasslands have on average 4.5x the water storage capacity (277 litres/m2) of intensively managed grasslands (61 litres/m2).
- Infiltration rates at Pont Bren are up to 60 times higher under woodland shelter belts compared with heavily grazed pasture.
- 250ha of peatland restoration at Plynlimon raised the water table in the peat by 5cm and retained an extra megalitre of water.
All of these facts have come from information published in journals and reports and are observed and measured data in the UK as opposed to modelled data. All monitored Natural Flood Management projects have consistently reduced flood peak by 20-30%. The full list of killer facts can be found here - http://www.nerc-bess.net/documents/EA-Killer-Facts-Multiple-%20benefits-of-river-and-wetland-restoration.pdf
Ecosulis are currently involved in a project with Devon Wildlife Trust to monitor the change in biodiversity quality as a result of beaver introduction in an enclosed site. This is in co-ordination with hydrology surveys of the site which aim to assess the impact of beavers on hydrology, especially flooding, through their creation of dams which form standing water and shallow pools. It is hoped the results will be published in early 2016.