Ellie Brown, Ribble Rivers Trust.
Adopting an evidence-based approach to prioritising locations in which to create and improve habitats is important to ensure the positive environmental impact is maximised, and limited funds and resources are used effectively. The use of landscape-scale GIS-based tools such as SCIMAP can greatly facilitate this process. Two examples of how Ribble Rivers Trust are using SCIMAP and similar tools to prioritise such works will be discussed in this presentation.
Using a tool produced for the Ribble catchment by Durham University, which utilises the principles of SCIMAP, the Trust have developed a catchment-wide GIS-based model that prioritises the locations at which new woodlands should be created in order to have the maximum benefit for the rivers, wildlife and people of the Ribble catchment. Locations have been identified where the creation of woodland could help to reduce the volumes of a) runoff, b) sediment and c) faecal matter entering watercourses, and also where woodland creation could help to reduce more than one of these risk factors.
A second catchment-wide model is currently in the planning stage, which will use SCIMAP in combination with other datasets to target where to create or restore hedgerows. The aim is to identify where the creation of functioning hedgerows could help to interrupt flow paths, thus reducing the amount of sediment and water reaching the Ribble’s watercourses and therefore the risk of pollution and flooding.