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A ditch in time...

One of Flanders Moss's 'leaky dams'

Much of the EcoCoLIFE project's remit is innovation, and some of the bog and peatland management work is now reaching fruition.

Using the project’s Softrak harvester, we’ve been using woodchips to create experimental ‘leaky dams’ at Flanders Moss.   Invasive scrub was cleared and mulched, and then placed upstream of ‘traditional’ plastic piling dams.  These woodchips act as leaky dams – they don’t completely stop water flow, but they slow water down sufficiently to allow sphagnum to proliferate over time, which in turn becomes self-damming. 

This creates an increasingly high water table as the sphagnum grows and expands – ongoing and sustainably.   In fact, the sphagnum dam can, in time, hold back a much larger hydrostatic head of water that might otherwise cause a plastic piling dam to fail.  Plus, of course, these leaky dams use a by-product of another bog improvement operation, on-site.  They're more effective, they use less fuel and time, are less damaging to the bog, and – ultimately – are more sustainable.  Success!

There is more detail on this and how it has been used elsewhere at Flanders in the SNH Science Newsletter Issue 22 – December 2017.