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.
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….
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
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.
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