Natural flood management

Wetlands aren’t just great for wildlife and people to enjoy, they also serve an essential purpose as part of nature’s flood defence system.

The problem

Climate change is likely to mean more frequent and intense flooding for the UK. WWT has been working to develop a more sustainable and efficient way to manage flooding using our wetlands.

Flooding has always been a threat to our island life but over recent years we have seen more devastating effects from it than ever before. Traditionally hard flood defences been used to manage flooding but it is now widely recognised that these defences alone are not enough.

What is natural flood management?

In recent years, there has been increased attention given to softer approaches that offer more sustainable ways of managing flood risk. Natural flood management (NFM) is an approach that uses opportunities in the landscape to hold back and slow down the flow of water before it reaches properties and businesses.

It encompasses low-cost techniques such as:

  • Re-meandering
  • Woody debris dams
  • Floodplain re-connection
  • Off-line water storage
  • Improved soil management
  • Tree and hedge planting

These flood management techniques work with and restore natural processes to reduce flood risk at a catchment scale. It can also complement and extend the lifetime of traditional defences and provides benefits to wildlife and people through the creation of healthy, nature-rich wetlands and water-friendly land management practices.

This article was originally published by WWT – read the full article.

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