- 13th December 2018
- Posted by: Sophie Smith
- Category: Blog
On Wednesday 5 December, a year on from the release of the Environment Agency’s Working with Natural Processes Evidence Directory, we held a Knowledge Exchange Event (KEE) to share experiences of recent work in Natural Flood Management (NFM). The event consisted of four presentations on a mix of topics to show how things have developed over the last year.
“The night was a huge success and a great deal of knowledge and experience was shared through the presentations and discussions. We will have further Knowledge Exchange Events to build on this success”, commented Steve Maslen, Head of Environment.
Below, Katie Chorlton, Environment Analyst, gives us a rundown of the event and the topics that were covered.
NFM benefits help attract Flood Defence Grant in Aid (FDGiA) funding
The first presentation of the evening focused on how a biodiversity scheme was shaped to deliver multiple benefits through an NFM scheme and shared the valuable experiences that were found in attracting flood defence funding. A particularly interesting part of this presentation was gaining an insight from people who played very different roles in the project team:
- Jeff Lunn, Chair of the Garganey Trust, talked about wanting to develop the biodiversity scheme in the first place
- Steve Maslen, JBA Project Manager, covered how we provided the consultancy service
- David Oake, Environment Agency, discussed the funding and assurance side of the project.
Gaining these three different perspectives on the project gave a broad overview of how an NFM project works and how it
could be developed in practice.
Using drones for recording river flow
An insight into new technology was the focus of the second presentation. How it can be used to improve knowledge and evidence as we progress with techniques. The latest research on the use of drones for recording river flow and river depths was discussed. Drones can also record conventional vegetation, environmental and elevation data.
In this, Professor Ian Maddock and Sophie Pearce from the University of Worcester explained how their research has progressed with the use of drone technology to map and monitor rivers and their habitats. They shared some incredibly interesting and exciting new techniques that could be used to progress research and development into rivers and will eventually help with monitoring NFM project performance.
Prioritising NFM investment in upland peat restoration
The third presentation of the night shared knowledge on how upland peat restoration can be informed and improved through different appraisal approaches. Alex Jones, our Peat Restoration Expert and Hydrogeologist, provided an overview of a project in the Wyre catchment in Lancashire, discussing a historical analysis approach to assessing the formation of gullies.
Steve Rose, NFM lead here at JBA, then outlined how modelling can be used to prioritise NFM interventions. These two presentations showed how there are a variety of approaches that can be used when considering the implementation of NFM, and how JBA has helped its clients
in providing innovative new methods.
Economic benefits of NFM
Our final presentation of the night saw an introduction into the concept of natural capital and how this has already been brought into our work completed, and how it can potentially be applied to NFM.
In this session, Angus Pettit, Head of Environmental Economics, kicked off with a bit of background of how natural capital is developing as an area of interest. He shared some of the findings from the national ‘Valuation in Practice’ conference that he attended earlier in the week.
Following this, I was able to give an overview of the findings of my MSc research project which looked into existing natural capital tools and how these might be applicable to NFM. Rachelle Ngai, Environmental Consultant, then discussed some of the projects we have previously worked on and the services we can provide relating to natural capital.
Want to know more?
Email Steve Maslen for more information on this Knowledge Exchange Event. If you have any suggestions for further such events, we’d love to hear them. You can also find about our NFM work on our natural flood management web page.