River restoration for natural flood management in Eddleston Water, Scotland
The Eddleston Water project, funded by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), is investigating the effectiveness of natural flood management (NFM) techniques and habitat restoration measures at a catchment scale.
The river was severely straightened at the start of 19th Century, and combined with agricultural intensification, the construction of a railway embankment, and further changes in land use and forestry, this resulted in increased flood risk downstream and habitat loss/degradation. The project therefore aims to reduce flood risk and restore the Eddleston Water for the benefit of the local community and wildlife.
The project uses NFM tools such as river re-meandering, tree planting and the creation of new wetlands, to slow the speed and impact of floodwaters and create new wildlife habitat such as improved spawning for salmon. Flood risk downstream has been reduced by 30% by planting trees and cross-slope hedgerows in the upper catchment, building log dams across side-streams, re-meandering the river and removing embankments to reconnect it to the floodplain.