Some keen followers of the Connecting the Culm project may have seen our ‘Environmental Evidence Review’ (EER) on the website or attended one of our online events where parts of the EER have been presented or discussed. If you haven’t already, check out our accessible summary here. But how do we get from that to co-creating ‘nature-based solutions’ (NBS); and why are those important? This article provides an accessible overview of the process, as well as details of some of the NBS co-creation that’s been happening over the last 12 months (a bit slower than planned due to COVID).
Why do we need NBS?
The EER gathers together a massive amount of data on the quantity and quality of various aspects of the Culm catchment – soils, water, carbon, landscape types, land uses, vegetation, wildlife, people and much more. Through the assessment of all these aspects maps and computer models can be produced to illustrate and understand where parts of the catchment may have low resilience and be at risk of issues such as flooding, drought, poor water quality, poor biodiversity or low in carbon storage potential. NBS can be considered as part of a wider toolkit to reduce the impacts and consequences of these risks through supporting and enhancing the functioning and performance of the natural environment. They are techniques that restore or mimic natural processes – such as enabling water to be absorbed into the ground better (improve infiltration) or slowing the flow of water through a catchment to reduce the likelihood or extent to which the river channel gets overwhelmed (peak flow reduction). More information on NBS here.