Engineered or natural solutions to flood alleviation?

We recently organised a well received event to celebrate the revised edition of Jeremy Purseglove’s seminal work “Taming the Flood”.  Other speakers included Dr Paul C Buckland and Prof. Ian D Rotherham.

2015 TtF front cover

There was much discussion around engineering vs sustainable and more environmentally benign and sustainable options which did not rely upon regular and increasingly eye watering amounts of public funding as options and approaches to flood allieviation.

One such example was that of the Environment Agency managed realignment at Alkborough Flats funded through the Water Framework Directive.  This project, which involved some 400ha resulted  in the largest realignment in the UK and the second largest in Europe.

The image below shows part of the Flats today, the lagoon fringed by phragmites hosted good numbers of Avocets, 6 Spoonbills and a Little Egret and not forgetting the delightful but elusive Bearded Tits amongst a more extensive species list mid week.

Looking north across Alkborough Flats showing phragmites reedbeds with Six Penny Wood wind turbines in the distance.

Looking north across Alkborough Flats showing phragmites reedbeds with Six Penny Wood wind turbines in the distance.

 

Slumbering Spoonbills.  The Little Egret lurked out of lens at the interface of the reeds along with another unidentified 'white job' probably another LE but not confirmed!

Slumbering Spoonbills. The Little Egret lurked out of lens at the interface of the reeds along with another unidentified ‘white job’ probably another LE but not confirmed!

The two images (taken on seperate days) show the extent of the tidal lagoons which along with those across the River Trent at Blacktoft Sands provide a fantastic habitat for a range of breeding species as well as a refuelling station for species on migration.

Squadron of five Spoonbills return.

Squadron of five Spoonbills return.

For other superb images of the Alkborough Spoonbills see Simon & Karen’s blog.

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