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SUMMER 2020 / ISSUE 21
The newsletter of the Tweed Forum
weed Forum is delighted to announce that we’ve planted our millionth tree in the Tweed
catchment since 2010. An amazing milestone by any measure and, in terms of carbon capture, these trees will store over 250,000 tonnes of carbon. This will offset the equivalent of 35,000 return flights to Sydney, Australia or driving 1.5 billion miles in a car at 50mph.
Cover image ©Jim Gibson Photography
1 million trees… and counting!
T These trees are largely riparian and as well as capturing carbon and helping in the fight against climate change, our million trees are also adding to the beauty of the Scottish Borders landscape and enhancing wildlife habitat. Many of them also form an important component of our water quality improvement and natural flood management programme (see our Eddleston Water Project, page 6 for example).
2 Tweed Matters
After 20 years at Drygrange, last summer Tweed Forum moved a few miles downriver to a newly converted, eco-friendly office at Old Melrose, developed in partnership with William Younger, owner of Old Melrose Estate. Tweed Forum was honoured that His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, The Duke of Rothesay performed the official opening ceremony of our new offices.
HRH Prince Charles enjoying a light-hearted moment with Tweed Forum staff and trustees
A new home
We had the opportunity to brief the Duke about our catchment management approach to protecting and conserving the natural, built and cultural heritage of the River Tweed and HRH seemed genuinely enthused by it. Our ‘Old Dairy’ home has quickly become a firm favourite with Tweed Forum staff, and not just because of the stunning riverside position and amazing views!
HRH performs the official opening ceremony for our new offices
HRH Prince Charles learns more about our catchment models from Tweed Forum’s Derek Robeson
HRH meets with Tweed staff members Joe, Emily and Jan (right to left)
4 Tweed Matters
Tweed Forum Carbon Club Our new Tweed Forum Carbon Club offers individuals, families and small businesses an easy way to offset their carbon footprint by creating new native woodland in the Tweed catchment. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and by making a donation you’ll help to create important new woodlands that will enhance the biodiversity, water quality and beauty of the local area and allow you to offset the carbon dioxide you use in your everyday life. Either by monthly subscription, or a one-off donation, you can help fight climate change and create beautiful native woodlands for future generations to enjoy.
COVID-19 UPDATE Due to Covid-19 restrictions, at the time of going to print, the Tweed Forum office is closed and all practical work has been put on hold. However, the Tweed Forum team have been working effectively from home and it is hoped that much of our outdoor work can restart in earnest in the coming weeks (in line with government advice).
A large part of our project work is carried out in remote areas, where social distancing rules can be observed relatively easily, so hopefully we’ll be able to get back on track quickly. We are extremely grateful to our funders for their understanding and continued support at this difficult time.
Find out more: www.tweedforum.org/carbonclub
Moving into its sixth year, the Fund has now supported a total of 67 projects, amounting to £1,203,955. The latest round of funding in March included a new, limited-lifetime, £100,000 community support fund in response to the Covid-19 crisis (details available from www.tweedforum.org/fallago). However, a number of conservation projects were also approved including research into black grouse numbers; salmon tagging and tracking; and the re-meandering of a channelised stretch of the Little Yarrow.
The Fund also committed support in the September 2019 round to the River Tweed Salmon Fishing museum in Kelso; the Berwickshire Youth Piping and Drumming Foundation (core funding); the provision of secure equipment storage for Yetholm Border Shepherds’ Show; the creation of an Admiral Ramsay visitor centre in Coldstream; and the restoration of the A-listed Port House in Jedburgh.
APPLY NOW! The next round of Fallago Environment Fund applications is open until 12 noon on the 1st September 2020 (and the following round of applications due by 12 noon on the 1st March 2021). The aim of the Fund is to enhance the quality of life for local communities, and visitors to the Borders, through investment in the protection, enhancement and appreciation of the natural, built and cultural heritage of the Scottish Borders environment.
Apply online at: www.tweedforum.org/fallago
(Detailed application guidance notes are also available online.)
Tweed Forum is coordinating this important Fund on behalf of Roxburghe Estates and EDF Renewables
Fallago Environment Fund
6 Tweed Matters
The project has now achieved a critical mass of work across 20 farm units that includes the following measures:
o FLOOD MANAGEMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE
Funded by Scottish Government, Interreg and SEPA, this project aims to restore natural habitats and reduce flood risk in Peebles and Eddleston village
Eddleston Water Project
Video footage of our flow restrictors on the Middle Burn shows how the structures work at high flow (bottom)
ar i B
• 207 ha of riparian woodland creation, which will help increase rainfall interception, evapotranspiration, soil infiltration and slow overland flow
• 21 km of fencing erected and just under 300,000 native trees planted
• 2.8 km of river re-meandered. This has increased river length, reduced the slope and speed of the water flow and provided more space for floodwater, as well as creating new habitats and improving the landscape
• 2.9 km of flood embankments removed
• 116 ‘high flow restrictors’ installed that will encourage out-of-bank flow and hold back water in the headwaters
• 32 ‘leaky’ ponds created (27,155 m2). These wetland features have a good deal of ‘free board’ built in so that they will store water during intense rainfall events.
o FLOOD MANAGEMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE
Floodwater storage ponds on the Eddleston catchment. For scale, a Tweed Forum vehicle can be seen as a dot on the far centre-right of the photo
In recent years the Eddleston Water Project has focused on monitoring the effects of these measures on the hydrology (how water moves around) and ecology of the catchment. This monitoring work has been funded by the EU Interreg programme and early indications show that one of the cheapest measures, the flow restrictors, are causing one of the biggest changes in how the catchment responds to rainfall. On the Middle Burn we have installed over 50 leaky dams using locally scavenged wood, and the flood peak has been delayed by over an hour. These, together with the ‘leaky’ ponds, could make the upper catchment less ‘flashy’, giving downstream communities precious, extra time to
prepare for a flood event. Other key findings from the
monitoring programme are the importance of native woodland in encouraging infiltration into the soil (rather than the flashier overland flow); and the very significant effect of the re-meandering works on the variety of instream habitats and diversity of associated invertebrate communities. Assessing the effect of the measures on salmon populations has proven a little more complicated due to annual fluctuations in the number of returning adults, but what can be said with some certainty is that fish numbers will have increased proportionally with the (re-meandered) increase in channel length. The increase in channel length u
8 Tweed Matters
o FLOOD MANAGEMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE
Monitoring work on the Eddleston is showing how our restoration efforts are improving the catchment, for wildlife and people
averages out at about 20% across all the restored reaches but is as much as 46% in the area at Lake Wood, near Eddleston village.
Further practical work is still ongoing with 3 large offline (not connected to the river network) storage ponds and 150 m of new watercourse completed at Ruddenleys
farm, in the headwaters of the Eddleston catchment. This complements the large- scale planting and flood retention features constructed there a few years ago. We are also collaborating with Forestry and Land Scotland planning staff to greatly increase the number of flow restrictors on their land, using large spruce timbers from windblow trees nearby.
We are working with Sustrans and the Peebles Community Trust on their project to create a multi-use path from Eddleston to Peebles. The plan is to showcase and explain the work which is taking place in the Eddleston Water catchment by installing high quality viewpoints and interpretation boards along the route, and we hope there may