Tuesday 21 October 2014

Peat damming at Talla Moss

We've been having a busy time up at our new site at Talla. Added to all of the work Tim has been doing with our contractors Treesurv at Talla Bank, we have recently had contractors on our own patch at Talla Moss.

We've been lucky enough to get funding through Peatland Action for some works up there. This was masterminded by Emily Taylor from the Crichton Carbon Centre who has been doing some amazing work to help us sort the land drains that we found on site. These drains take all the water off the land. By blocking these we are allwoing the water to spread across the site, creating a nice wet peatland site. This has benefits for Co2 absorption, as well as helping with water flow regulation and water quality - the latter in this case applies especially as we are right above the Talla reservoir!

We were given money to put in a number of peat dams across the site. Emily created a map of all the drains on site and got contractors Barker and Bland on board. However before works began we consulted closely with Scottish Water, who after a site visit, gave us their agreement for the works.

Our visit from Amanda and Graham from Scottish Water
Barker and Bland have finessed a number of peat dam blocking techniques and were able to demonstrate 3 of these on site to us. It was their first job in Scotland so it was great for us to have them and we were very impressed with the work they did. 

The example in this video link is one of the techniques they used. 

They scoop out an area across the drain, dig out a lump of good turf and turn it over. This is to give the damn a good seal. They dig out a 'borrel pit' to the side, uphill from where the damn is to be. They take some more good peat out of this and add it to the damn. They then re-profile the sides damn so that it is visually disguised in the landscape. The borrel pit upstream from the main damn helps to act as a drainage area to prevent too much water building up behind the damn and breaking it.

The second example in this video link is similar but instead they make a number of damn along the drain and as they work between them they used the digger to make a few cuts in the peat either side and squash these with the bucket to effectively close the drainage channel.

But the question is..... did it work? Well we've had a lot of rain recently and this picture was taken on site today. You can clearly see how the water is being held back by the dam and is spreading out nicely along the borrel pit - textbook!

All very fascinating stuff and great for us to have Talla Moss used as a demonstration site.

Site Officer

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