Chris Spray

Chris Spray

Chris Spray, UK

Professor Chris J Spray MBE, FRSA Chair of Water Science and Policy School of Social Sciences University of Dundee

Presentation Title:Building with Nature: Adapting to Environmental Change through innovative catchment management in the Tweed UNESCO HELP Basin, Scotland

Nature based solutions, which look to work at the landscape scale as part of a suite of potential adaptation measures are an increasingly important policy response to challenges such as those posed by climate change. Targeting the most effective intervention measures at the right location, right scale and through the right means is key to this adaptive management approach. Whilst policies that look to deliver multiple benefits for flood risk, habitats, biodiversity and other ecosystem services are emerging, an urgent need exists to establish the science-evidence base for these potential adaptations to environmental change, and to bridge the gap between science, policy and practice on the ground.

Begun in 2009 as a scoping study, the Eddleston project is a national pilot financed by Scottish Government to provide the science evidence base to support policy requirements for utilisation of ‘natural characteristics’ of a catchment within a wider sustainable flood risk management and river basin management framework (Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009). Its aims are to restore the catchment to reduce flood risk to local communities and improve habitats, taking a scientifically driven, holistic approach. We report on results from detailed hydrological, ecological and social science studies to show the effectiveness of key measures. These include re-meandering old straightened river channels, creating temporary storage ponds, holding back flood flows with leaky wood barriers and tree planting that together increase resilience to climate change induced changes in hydrology. We report on responses to introduction of such new measures from farmers within Tweed and the economic implications for introducing these measures.

Through working with local stakeholders and policy-makers, we aim to bridge the science-policy gap, providing the evidence for building with nature to deliver greater resilience to environmental change.