Victoria Coates attends CIWEM’s Working with Natural Processes event

Victoria Coates, Hydrologist and PhD researcher at Loughborough University, attended a one-day conference hosted by the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Managers in Leeds. Below Victoria tells us about her experiences at the conference.

My PhD is about quantifying the impact of soil and land management, specifically soil compaction and hedgerow planting, on hydrology and catchment response. This topic fits under the ‘Run-off management’ interventions of the Environment Agency’s (EA) new Working with Natural Processes (WWNP) evidence directory which was launched at the conference. The WWNP evidence directory has been developed to help flood and coastal erosion risk managers (FCERM) authorities understand, justify, develop and implement WWNP in FCERM scheme, to reduce flood risk.

I learnt a lot more about the WWNP evidence directory, the interactive maps with potential interventions and the written guide on how to use the maps, what they show and the underlying data behind them. There are also 14 one-page intervention summaries with benefits wheels, that show the potential benefits of each intervention on ten different ecosystem services. A number of people at JBA have been involved in this project including Steve Rose, Steve Maslen, Barry Hankin, Robert Harvey and Rachelle Ngai.

There are a number of points to bear in mind when using the new interactive WWNP tools:

  • Land owner considerations are paramount in this process
  • Effective engagement with land owners should be established first
  • Effective engagement should help to develop a better understanding on the local environment and societal needs
  • Efforts should be made to look for connectivity within a catchment to understand the dominant physical processes and how they interact at different scales
  • The maps don’t cover all aspects of WWNP
  • The maps should be used with all other sources of relevant information, to focus on more detailed investigations
  • Advice should be sought when interpreting the maps to ensure that the most appropriate interventions are used, in the appropriate locations that deliver the most benefit and to achieve wider environmental and societal benefits

Want to know more?

More information about WWNP to reduce flood risk can be found on our Natural Flood Management (NFM) webpage. You can also read our other blogs on the topic by clicking the Natural Flood Management Knowledge Hub tag.

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