Research project

Natural flood management to reduce flood risk and restore Eddleston Water for community and wildlife

Natural flood management (NFM) can help us adapt to climate change, reducing flood risk and conserving habitats, while sustaining farming livelihoods. We are testing this at Eddleston Water, within the Scottish Government’s research programme on the effectiveness of catchment-scale NFM measures.

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Start date

January 2009



The Scottish Government

EU North Sea Region Interreg Building with Nature programme

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) Water Environment Fund

A range of other public and private sources

The Eddleston Water was severely straightened at the start of the 19th Century to enable the building of a road to Edinburgh. This, followed by agricultural drainage, the building of a railway and other land use changes across the 69km2 catchment, resulted in increased flood risk downstream, and habitat loss and degradation.

In this partnership project, led by Tweed Forum, we have worked with 20 farmers since 2012 to plant over 330,000 native trees across 207ha, restore 3km of meanders along the river, create 30 new ponds and wetland storage areas, and installed 116 high-flow log structures. The introduction of these NFM measures is supported by a comprehensive network of hydrological and ecological monitoring. Empirical results show that these changes can reduce flood impacts and provide new habitats for wildlife, including spawning areas for salmon. Further hydrological modelling is helping extend this knowledge, making it relevant to other locations. We also gathered evidence to inform our understanding of the impact, costs and benefits of introducing NFM measures here and elsewhere across the Tweed catchment, including ecosystem services and detailed surveys of farmer attitudes to NFM.


Project lead(s)

Dr Andrew Black

External team members

Chris Spray (former member of staff)

Tweed Forum

The Scottish Government


Scottish Borders Council

British Geological Survey

The local farmers and community are key collaborators