Local Water environment projects

http://www.sepa.org.uk/about_us/news/2010/water_restoration_fund.aspx

Scotland’s environment watchdog is encouraging organisations with a project they feel would benefit their local water environment, community and economy, to apply for funding from Scotland’s Water Environment Restoration Fund as soon as possible.

The fund, which has contributed to work at both a local and national level, has provided over £1.5 million to projects across the country since 2008 to improve rivers, streams, lochs, wetlands and coastal areas. Money from the Scottish Government to enhance and improve impacted waters in need of restoration is being directed and managed by a Restoration Assessment Group, led by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The group also includes Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Government and Forestry Commission Scotland.

A national project has been funded to support the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts Scotland in delivering two Scotland wide projects. The first is assessing instream weirs with the intention of improving fish passage. These individual assessments will be used to develop funding partnerships at each site to deliver recommendations to restore downgraded waterbodies. The second project is working to control non-native, invasive bankside species. This spans multiple Scottish river catchments and involves partnership with a significant number of Fisheries Trusts. The long term aim is to eradicate Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, Giant Hogweed and Rhododendron ponticum from our watercourses as these plants have high impact on the native riparian species.

Other projects have included: creating an area of saltmarsh habitat and saline lagoons, restoring water courses to their natural shape after historic engineering work to straighten them; improving fish passage in rivers with redundant weirs and restoring a lowland bog by increasing water retention following historic peat extraction.

Julie Tuck, SEPA’s restoration specialist, said:

“The water environment in Scotland is not only an intrinsic part of our landscape but also a vital asset. It fuels our industry, powers our houses and attracts tourists to the country. However over the years it has been affected by various physical pressures, with the result that many of our rivers, lochs, wetlands and coastlines are no longer the pristine water environments they once were.

“The Water Environment Restoration Fund provides an amazing opportunity to secure support and funding to improve the rivers, streams, lochs, and coastal waters for you and future generations. As well as benefiting the environment and local communities, the work being carried out in these projects will contribute towards delivering the river basin management plans, which will improve lochs and rivers across Scotland.

“We encourage any organisation with a project they feel would be suitable to apply for funding as soon as they can. The fund is open to a wide range of interest groups, including community groups, fishery trusts, environmental charities and landowners.”

Projects seeking less than £10,000 from the fund can be reviewed at any point during the year and are not subject to an application deadline. For those looking for funding above £10,000 in 2010 – 2011, we have extended the next deadline for applications to 7 October 2010, the following deadline is 8 January 2011. Projects should aim to improve the environmental status or condition of a waterbody by tackling the physical pressures on that system. Projects could be as simple as promoting native bank side vegetation or as complex as tackling catchment scale pressures. Examples of such projects eligible for funding include:

  • restoring natural processes in rivers or lochs;
  • engineering degraded rivers to restore natural profiles by, for example, recreating meanders;
  • removing or modifying weirs to improve fish passage, flow and sediment movement;
  • restoring flood plains, coastal intertidal zones and wetlands;
  • controlling non-native invasive bank side and instream plants;
  • scoping studies to assess costed options for physical restoration works.

More information and access to the application form is available at www.sepa.org.uk/water/restoration_fund.aspx. Alternatively you can write to Restoration Specialist, SEPA, Inverdee House, Baxter St, Torry, Aberdeen, AB11 9QA

September 30, 2010   Posted in: Community

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