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Category: Issues & projects

Young scientists: School data pages

Kincardine O’Neil monitoring equipment buried under spring snow, 3rd April

Pupils from Tarland Primary, Aboyne Primary and Kincardine O’ Neil primary schools are proving to be very enthusiastic and capable young scientists.  Pupils are recording weather data to support our research in the Tarland and whole Dee catchment.

All three schools are hosting a variety of monitoring equipment for air temperature, rainfall, wind speed and direction, solar radiation levels. Some of the equipment is automated and some of it manual. We are comparing data recorded manually by the children with that obtained from the automatic stations.

The monitoring equipment was installed in early December 2011 and thanks to the efforts of staff and pupils we have captured some very interesting data.

Temperature data

Spring air temperature data; Tarland catchment 2012

Deeside weather conditions made the national news in March and April 2012 as record high spring temperatures were recorded at the Met office weather station at Aboyne and only 3 days later significant snow fall brought power lines and tree limbs down. The official data verifies the work of our young helpers as their data and photographs illustrate the conditions very well.


Stream-bank Buffer Strips Provide Multiple Benefits

What are buffer strips and how can they help?

Image showing a drainage feature and buffer strip

Managing Rural Septic Tanks

What’s the issue?

Natural Flood Management

The Natural Flood Management Approach

Natural flood management can be described as:

“a suite of techniques that aim to work with natural, hydrological and morphological processes to manage the sources and pathways of flood waters. At the same time natural flood management can improve the quality of our natural and urban environments and provide many additional benefits for water quality, ecology, climate change, and recreation” (Scottish Environment Protection Agency, 2012).

A large range of NFM techniques exist. Evidence varies about the likely impact of each technique. For the majority of techniques the certainty with which the impact can be predicted is low and the impact is likely to vary with location conditions (soil, slope, land use intensity etc). Some examples are given below:

  • Conifer and broadleaf woodland planting: There is consensus that the effects of forestation diminish with both catchment size and event magnitude, but the location within catchment is significant;
  • Reducing grazing pressure on pasture: This technique aims to improve soil condition and water infiltration. Research shows that there may be a reduction of 13% or more in run off;
  • Creation / restoration of non-floodplain wetlands: It is often thought that wetlands act as a sponge, but this is not borne out by the evidence. Research provides conflicting messages about the effect of wetlands on reducing flooding. Each wetland is unique and effects can be both positive and negative;
  • Blocking Upland drains:  There is general agreement in the literature that upland drains can lower moisture conditions but could also improve connectivity to watercourses;
  • Floodplain reconnection: This can increase the travel time of water through the catchment and there is general consensus that it reduces flows, but there is disagreement on the magnitude of the impact;
  • Creation of constructed farm wetlands or ponds: These features increase storage in the catchment. Research shows they require careful design and may still have uncertain impacts depending on local conditions;
  • Improved management of lochs and reservoirs: The literature shows that changing the management of lochs and reservoirs can reduce flood flows.
  • Reach restoration: This can help in moving water past receptors, and the research shows that local effects can be significant, with a low degree of uncertainty.
  • Use of SUDS (sustainable urban drainage systems): Research shows that well designed and maintained systems are known to be effective with a low degree of uncertainty.

For more information contact: Wendy Kenyon

Flooding: Issues, Impacts, Drivers and Policy

The Issue

Flooding is a naturally occurring process which cannot be prevented.

UK Environmental Virtual Observatory pilot study


Newly planted buffer strip


Road flooding in Tarland village


Road runnoff pollution Tarland