As our beautiful chalk streams wind through the landscape, detours can be a natural part of their journeys. The places where they overflow become temporary wetlands that support wildlife and leave the soil rich in nutrients. Over time, however, these floodplains have become dotted with human settlements where the waters are less welcome. With a growing population and a shifting climate, could the joy of streamside living one day be a thing of the past?
If you explore ways to address this problem, you're likely to come across the term 'Natural Flood Management'. Also called 'NFM' or 'Working with Natural Processes', this approach aims to reduce flood risk through nature-based measures like planting trees, creating storage ponds, and improving absorption on farmland. Such solutions have the potential to offer further environmental benefits, from improving biodiversity and water quality to reducing bank erosion.
As such, while NFM measures are already making a difference in Hampshire, organisations like the Wildlife Trust are exploring if their use could be expanded. Earlier this year we helped fellow Watercress and Winterbournes partner Hampshire County Council to do just that, using an online questionnaire to learn how local residents feel about NFM being used in their area. Join us as we examine some highlights from the results!