Landscape Actions in ACRES – Protecting Water Resources


Preventing soil erosion is in everyone’s interest, keeping soil and plant nutrients on the land and out of the water is good for farming and for our freshwater resources. Once soil particles reach a permanent watercourse there is not much we can do but there actions that can help prevent that from happening.

Earth banks, hedges, vegetated buffers, particularly along drains and watercourse all help to slow the flow of water and stop the transport of suspended soil particles. By slowing the flow of water in drains, we can also stop the transport of suspended materials within the drain from reaching natural watercourses. Over the last year we have been trialing different techniques for doing this. Some of these will be Landscape Actions in the Co-operation element of ACRES. One technique involves the use of Engineered Ditches. Using this method we can slow the flow of water in a drain by channeling the water through short lengths of pipe elevated above the base of the drain and just downstream of a sump.

This encourages the settlement of sediment in the channel and the sump, allows water to soak into the ground and facilitates the growth of vegetation in the drain. The plants will further slow the water, take up some of the available Phosphorous and support other biodiversity. The water will flow to the watercourse, but most of the sediment it was carrying will be left behind. It can then be removed periodically and put back on the land where it belongs.

A lot of progress can be made in a short time. The top picture shows a channel just downstream from a new culvert, the second shows the same channel after one year.