Catchment management

The idea of 'catchment management' – planning land and water management in a way that recognises their interdependence within a river catchment – is now being put into practice in Scotland. The good forestry practice requirements of the Water Guidelines support this approach, for example by encouraging less intensive land management activities and using forestry to help mitigate flood risk and diffuse pollution.

Our Forest Research agency has developed GIS-based opportunity mapping to identify where the best opportunities for riparian planting are so that they can reduce diffuse pollution and flood risk. We are using this tool in a partnership project with SEPA to "opportunity map" the fourteen priority catchments identified in the first cycle of the Scotland River Basin Management Plan. The project was piloted on the River Tay, and the results are in the River Tay opportunity mapping report (PDF 934KB). We are now opportunity mapping the other thirteen priority catchments and will publish the reports here in due course.

FCS has worked closely with SEPA, SNH and other partners to assess and deliver high-level river restoration plans that reflect the principles of catchment-scale management. An excellent example of this is the Dee Catchment Partnership, which focuses on the River Dee in Grampian, one of Scotland’s fourteen priority catchments. The Upper Dee Riparian Woodland Scheme intends to plant over 50 kilometres of riverbank, which will play a major role in helping protect and restore the quality of its freshwater environment.