Tweed Forum has been working with Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and landowners in the Ettrick and Yarrow catchment above Selkirk. Following comprehensive consultation regarding the Selkirk Flood Plan, which involved building many new flood walls around Selkirk to protect vulnerable housing and businesses, SBC commissioned Halcrow to look at the potential contribution of Natural Flood Management measures in the catchment, and it is these wider catchment measures which Tweed Forum helped to promote.
On the Long Philip Burn, (which badly flooded the Bannerfield area of Selkirk after exceptional downpours in 2003) SBC have re-meandered the channel and flood banks have been placed well back to allow the watercourse to flood an area of new parkland. They have also removed a road bridge, which is often choked with gravel. At the head of a 4km length of stream on Foulsheils and Linglie farms, Tweed Forum has organised the planting of 10ha of new native woodland and improved management of the heathery hills. The planting will stabilise the banks and help to reduce the impact of heavy downpours, as well as provide wildlife habitat and landscape improvements. Funding for this work came through the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) and SBC’s Habitat Restoration fund (through Southern Uplands Partnership and with assistance from Borders Forest Trust). You can read our case study here.
Further up the Ettrick and Yarrow catchment, at Cossarsill and Mountbenger, deep eroding ditches in blanket bog have been dammed and filled in. This will help the peat bog to retain water and reduce the loss of carbon from peat. A new 7 hectare (8,500 trees) native woodland has been planted along the Whitehope Burn, which joins the Yarrow water. As well as increasing flood capacity and reducing the peak of flood levels, this stream will be able to recover from the effects of livestock grazing. The banks had collapsed and the river braided, with very shallow warm water in summer, leading to stranded and suffocating fish.
Tweed Forum, in partnership with SBC, has also fenced off around 900m of riparian habitat on the lower Kirkstead Burn and Riskinhope Burn. The fencing on these 2 streams, which flow into St Mary’s Loch, was recommended by the Wild Trout Trust. Follow-up riparian planting within the fenced off zones on both the Kirkstead and Riskinhope was carried out by members of St Mary’s Loch Angling Club. At Annelshope, wetlands have been created on the floodplain, which will act as extra flood water storage, as well as providing useful open water habitat for wildlife. This work has been partly financed through the SBC Glenkerie Windfarm offsite mitigation fund.
At Whitehope Farm, 7 hectares of native woodland have been planted to slow down rainwater run-off rates and restore natural riverbank vegetation. You can read a case study here.