Riparian edges

Now, I’m no ecoligist and have never aspired to that particular calling, but one thing I have noticed on my travels around the Ericht, is the riparian edges and the wonderful array of wildlife they hold. However, one of my bug-bears is the fact that beavers are getting the blame for wrecking said edges and damaging the floodbanks. So it was with this in mind I decided to have a wee wander and see what I could see and place my thoughts before you.

I thought I would go to the Isla first as there had been an incident there that had been documented by the BBC. This location isn’t the one on the telly but hopefully it may highlight some of the issues that are prevelant within present landowners/farmers and the beavers are not always to blame.

The Isla - Arable either side of the river

The Isla – Arable either side of the river

To me the above picture shows good practice with a decent buffer zone either side of the river. The Isla as you are aware floods regularly, however there is no evidence of any flood damage as the vegetation and trees are present to stop/prevent erosion and to maintain the integrity of the floodbank. However…..further down around the corner we have this….

Erosion - The Isla

Erosion – The Isla

The Isla. Hard grazing on the left, arable on the right.

The Isla. Hard grazing on the left, arable on the right.

The Isla. Note the cattle in the background and also the state of the field with probably only a root system on the grass of only a few centimetres.

The Isla. Note the cattle in the background and also the state of the field with probably only a root system on the grass of only a few centimetres.

What is evident is that where we have hard grazing on a riparian edge by livestock, we have issues. Now, the Isla at this location has beavers and to me the biggest impact is caused by the cattle and NOT the beaver. Livestock trample the ground and compact it so hard that any rainfall just runs off the land causing major flooding issues furher downstream.

The next series of pictures identify an area that the landowner has removed all the trees to prevent/inhibit any beavers taking up residence. Note the complete lack of pretty much everything!!! No pollinators, no birdlife just livestock and a knackereed banking

Hard grazing by the Isla. Little or no trees here and flood damage is evident

Hard grazing by the Isla. Little or no trees here and flood damage is evident

Hard grazing by the Isla. Note the state of the banking and the absence of any vegetation

Hard grazing by the Isla. Note the state of the banking and the absence of any vegetation

The damage here is pretty grim in my mind a criminal offence!

The next series of pictures are by the Ericht, with beavers and NO livestock.

Riparian edge by the Ericht. The river is to the left and arable fields to the right. Note the large buffer zone allowing flora and fauna to flourish

Riparian edge by the Ericht. The river is to the left and arable fields to the right. Note the large buffer zone allowing flora and fauna to flourish

A thick Riparian edge offering habitat for numerous species

A thick Riparian edge offering habitat for numerous species

A willow that had been previously been taken by the beaver and has now shooted more branches than before. Note the re-harvesting of this willow

A willow that had been previously been taken by the beaver and has now produced more branches as a result than before. Note the re-harvesting of this willow

So, feel free to comment on this as they are only my thoughts, but to me the answer to stop breaches in floodbanks are the following 2 points

1 Maintain a good buffer zone between the river and fields and allow trees, bushes and vegetation to grow

2 Limit or even better stop, hard grazing by cattle on the river. In fact an arable field between the river and livestock may produce results that would astound even the biggest beaver nay-sayers

 

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Posted on June 3, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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