Innovative ecological scheme to reduce flooding in Leicestershire

Natural Flood Management measures introduced to slow and store water at Narborough Bogs Nature Reserve in Leicestershire.

Work starts this week at Narborough Bogs Nature Reserve to test natural ways of managing flood waters.

The Environment Agency have teamed up with Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, Natural England and Heriot-Watt University to pilot innovative Natural Flood Management (NFM) measures to slow and store water at Narborough Bogs Nature Reserve in Leicestershire.

As part of the works, and in keeping with the regular woodland management on site 10 trees will be felled to create openings in the woodland canopy. The wood will be orientated across the woodland floor in a way that it blocks the flow route of flood water from the River Soar and holds it in the wet woodland area for longer. Wood piles will be used to block up old withy beds that transfer water through the woodland and a wooden bund will be created at the end of an old oxbow lake. All features have been designed to have the maximum ecological benefit and compliment the nature reserve setting.

The project is part of a £15 million national NFM programme which in addition to delivering flood risk and environmental enhancements, aims to contribute to the growing evidence base for NFM.

As these natural flood management techniques are relatively new there will also be a PhD opportunity at Heriot-Watt University to evidence the effectiveness and also to help develop guidance on how larger NFM schemes can be designed and optimised.

Narborough Bogs is one of four sites in the Leicester area where this approach is being piloted. At the other sites ponds are being created to store water and tree planting used to slow overland flows. Each site will be monitored with changes in water levels and ecology closely scrutinised to see how effective the NFM measures are.

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