Our Making Space for Water project was designed to find out how improving the condition of blanket bog moorland can help to reduce local flood risk, while also producing wider benefits for the environment and communities.
We did this by monitoring the volume of rain falling into discrete areas (mini-catchments) during storms on the tops of the moor, and the volume flowing out of these areas. We also measured the height of the water table (depth of ground water beneath the surface), the amount of peat and carbon being washed away, and the colour of the water.
We chose the project site on the Kinder Scout plateau because it had vast areas of bare, eroding peat, having suffered a long history of degradation due to industrial atmospheric pollution, over-grazing and wildfires. We left a small part of the plateau in this degraded condition (a treatment-excluded ‘control’) so that we always had a comparison with our restored (‘treatment’) areas.
Since the conclusion of the Defra-funded period of the project we have added to the treatments by planting one of the mini-catchments with an additional 45,000 sphagnum plugs – 30,000 in 2015 and another 15,000 in early 2018. The aim of this intensive planting is to 'fast-forward' to a healthy blanket bog as soon as possible, so we can monitor the effects of a more complete cover sphagnum moss on raising water tables and slowing the flow of rainwater.
A five year monitoring programme 2011 to 2015 to establish the effects of moorland restoration techniques.
A weekly programme of water monitoring took place during the MoorLIFE project at a number of sites