When storm Desmond hit in December 2016 it caused havoc, flooding over 100 properties in Wyre and causing thousands of pounds worth of damage. Floods also disrupt river ecology and increase the amount of pollutants entering the watercourse.
The way we manage land has a big impact on flood risk. Deforestation of trees which soak up water through their roots and intercept rainfall means that water ends up in the channel more quickly. Soil compaction also increases the rate water runs off the land; instead of some of it being soaked up by vegetation, water flows much more quickly into the nearest waterbody. Drainage of moorlands means there is less water stored here too- healthy, well vegetated moorlands are naturally wet, with vegetation slowing the flow of water downstream but in recent times have been managed to be drier, with areas of bare peat forming.
With growing evidence suggesting that climate change is causing more frequent extreme rainfall events, floods are likely to become more common, so we need to find new ways to help reduce flood risk.Through our Natural Flood Management project we are working with landowners to increase buffer strips, plant more trees and increase flood storage areas to slow the flow of water through the environment and increase resilience to floods in the Wyre catchment.
Tree planting helps to soak up excessess water and reduce flooding downstream.
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