Connecting the Culm is working to implement Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) to improve the flood and drought resilience of the River Culm catchment. NBS are also referred to as working with nature, working with natural processes or natural flood management.
What are Nature-Based Solutions?
Nature-based Solutions (NBS) are techniques to restore or mimic natural functions in the environment. In relation to flood and drought resilience there are a number of options available such as improving soil infiltration, planting trees and hedges, and creating features to store and slow down water as it flows through the catchment.
Our Nature Based Solutions ‘Toolbox’
Here are all the different types of NBS that we can use to improve the health and resilience of the environment.
Improved soil structure retains more water, therefore improving the catchment’s resilience to drought. Also enables roots to go deeper allowing greater access to ground/soil water.
Results in increased water storage capacity, increased groundwater recharge, improving drought tolerance and increased interception reducing peak flows. Runoff from compacted soils can range as much as 50-60% higher than on aerated healthy soils.
Also results in increased worm and soil biota populations, improved conditions for soil fungus and improved carbon sequestration.
Improving pasture management, cover crops and herbal leys leads to improved soil structure, root structure and improved organic matter. Increased water storage capacity, increased groundwater recharge, improving drought tolerance and increased interception reducing peak flows.
Increased soil species and increased variety of cropping type improving insect populations.
Allowing streams and rivers to spill onto their natural floodplain during peak flows reduces flooding downstream. This also has potential to increased ground water recharge. Increased water storage capacity, increased groundwater recharge, increased infiltration reducing peak flows.
Benefits include reconnected floodplain wildlife habitat.
These slow the flow for extended periods, reducing flash flooding downstream.
Through coppicing, improving under-canopy thickness and allowing more natural decomposition, we can improve shading and soil condition. This results in increased water storage capacity, increased groundwater recharge, improving drought tolerance and increased interception reducing peak flows. It’s good for wildlife too, promoting more diverse woodland habitats.
Tree planting around the catchment and alongside watercourses (riparian tree planting) retains more ground water, can protect soil condition provided issues sorted prior to planting. Increases shading, protects watercourses from runoff, increases water storage capacity and groundwater recharge, improving drought tolerance and increased interception reducing peak flows.
Also improves carbon sequestration, habitat creation, wider available food source.
Retains floodwater for longer, increasing opportunity for groundwater recharge.
Slows the flow peak flow and increases water storage.
Increased insect supply potentially improving birdlife.
Retains floodwater for longer, increased interception. Improved soil condition.
Improved flora and fauna species.
Improved soil condition, increased shaded areas increased water interception. Increased overflow interception.
Increased habitat good for nesting birds, bats, also good food source for wildlife populations.
Increased water capture, reduced runoff.
Habitat creation for pond dwelling species.
Increased water storage capacity, increased groundwater recharge, improving drought tolerance and increased interception reducing peak flows. (Mires may not reduce peak flows, but will improve low flows).
Also increases the amount of wetland habitat which is currently declining nationally.
They also improve water storage capacity and slow the flow of water.
Where will we get the greatest benefit?
The CTC Potential Areas of Improved Resilience (PAIRS) map shows where nature-based solutions would have the most effect within the Culm Catchment.
This target areas map is based on modelling that uses elements like soil type, slope, flow pathways and vegetation cover to identify priority areas.
Nature-based Solutions – an introduction.
How does soil work? And why does it matter so much to the way water works?
Viewpoints from landowners
Latest news on NBS delivery
All the most recent updates from the Connecting the Culm NBS demonstration sites
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