Staffs Washlands cpt C J Hayes Staffs WT
The key to successful flood prevention is taking a catchment-wide approach
This floodplain biodiversity project covers 18,700 hectares and forms part of the OnTrent Initiative and the Water for Wildlife programme.
A major aspect of this work was the Farming Floodplains for the Future project, an important national pilot that aimed to determine whether the farmed landscape can be viably managed in ways that effectively reduce flood risk downstream, while at the same time enhancing the natural environment.
The project has already begun to demonstrate the benefits that can be gained gained by simple, low-tech, landscape-scale flood alleviation measures.
A partnership project, driven and hosted by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Farming Floodplains for the Future secured funding for 3 years from April 2007.
Through successful delivery (including eight demonstration sites featured in a series of case studies), the project has shown that farmers and landowners can be engaged in flood risk management and, with the right incentives, can be encouraged to implement flood-alleviation measures on the ground.
The key to success is taking a catchment-wide approach, focussing on headwaters and tributaries, delivering cumulative gain through the storing of water much closer to source and slowing its flow downstream. The project has shown that this can be achieved through simple, natural, low-tech solutions, resulting in schemes that are sustainable and cost-effective, require minimal maintenance and fit comfortably alongside existing farm enterprises.
Start date: 2003
Scheme area: 18,700 hectares
This scheme is helping species including...
Breeding lapwing, wintering waders including snipe, barn owl, otter, water vole, harvest mouse, water shrew, grass snake, native white-clawed crayfish, bullhead, brook lamprey, eel, native brown trout, ground nesting solitary bees and wasps, river shingle beetles and hoverflies.
Current threats to the landscape
Agricultural intensificiation, quarrying, increase in 'hobby' farming - landowners are sympathetic but lack land management skills
This scheme is also...
Helping wildlife adapt to climate change, reducing flood risk
Natural England, Environment Agency, local authorities, Sow and Penk Internal Drainage Board