What’s Going On Here?
Two beavers have been released in an Essex estate (UK) to manage flood risk naturally and improve biodiversity.
How Will They Help Manage Flood Risk?
Organised by a partnership between The Environment Agency, the Essex & Suffolk Rivers Trust and Essex Wildlife Trust partnership, the project aims to see how the beavers’ work compares to traditional flood risk management methods.
Famous for dam building, the beavers will construct ‘leaky’ dams to control the flow of the river downstream gradually.
Flooding often happens when a river experiences ‘peaky’ river flows, where the river can’t cope with a sudden surge of water. Building these dams will slow this peaky water flow, giving the river downstream of it a steady amount of water to handle and reducing the flood risk.
Beaver expert, Derek Gow has been working with similar trials and has found that water flows through 10x slower when a river has beaver dams to flow through.
Beavers To The Rescue?
After serious flooding in 2012, Lydbrook found itself under 4ft of water. These two Eurasian beavers have been drafted in to protect 18 homes across 13 acres of land.
Biodiversity also gets a helping hand. The dams will hold back flood water, making the water table to rise upstream, allowing wetlands to form to encourage biodiversity.
The data captured will help to assess the success of this sustainable flood risk management approach. If it reduced flooding like similar trials have shown, there could be an opportunity to replace traditional ‘hard engineering’ approaches more widely which would beaver-y good!
The Beavers will be stars of their own wildlife documentary being screened next year where you can follow the progress and see how it worked. In the meantime, you can follow the project here.