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River restoration for natural flood management in Eddleston Water

United Kingdom Eddleston Water

The restoration of a straightened river included re-connecting the river to its surrounding floodplain and creating storage ponds and small wetlands. These measures aimed to improve natural flood management of the catchment while also restoring biodiversity.

Eddleston Water was a straightened river that risked flooding 500 properties downstream. Straightened rivers, as opposed to natural meandering rivers, are associated with negative environmental impacts caused by faster flows, the diversion of rivers from natural recharge points, and the disruption of natural wildlife habitats. Therefore, the Scottish Tweed Forum embarked on an assessment of the natural flood management potential associated with restoring Eddleston Water. Working with local landowners, they managed to plant over 200 hectares of native trees, create cross-slope hedgerows, and install 116 log barriers on high tributaries to create small wetlands. Furthermore, 28 flood storage ponds were created, three kilometres of the main river were re-meandered, and several embankments were removed reconnecting the river with its surrounding floodplain. These combined interventions are intended to reduce flood risk in the river catchment as well as restore the natural ecosystem of the river.

Case effectiveness on

Climate change

Mitigation: Positive

Benefits from carbon storage as a result of the river restoration are estimated to be worth £GBP 717 thousand (net present value) over 100 years.

Adaptation: Positive

Analysis reported that flood peaks were reduced by 30% and delayed by over four hours, avoiding an estimated £GBP 950,000 of flood damages and protecting 500 properties downstream.

Ecosystem health

Ecological effect: Positive

It is reported that gravel banks and pools formed by the restoration of the river have led to an increase in spawning salmon and other fish. Ecological status of the river has been improved from 'bad' to 'moderate' under the EU Water Framework Directive Assessment.

Socioeconomic outcomes

We are currently working on adding the case effectiveness on socioeconomics.

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River reeds close up
Photo © Mabel Amber

Intervention type

  • Created habitats
  • Restoration

Ecosystem type

  • Created wetland
  • Streams, rivers, riparian
  • Wetlands

Climate change impacts addressed

  • Freshwater flooding
  • Reduced water quality

Instigators

  • International development organization
  • Local NGO or CBO (eg. indigenous)
  • National government/agency

Societal challenges

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Water security

Literature info

  • Grey literature
Case methodology not reported