Natural flood management (NFM) was one of the reasons for establishment of the Wharfedale CSFF network in 2017; it brought together 16 farmers to tackle issues across the catchment using NFM and other measures. Flooding happens several times a year in the catchment and there are long-term problems with soil loss and pollution; Storm Desmond in 2015 provided a North of England focus for action to address flooding.
A key aspect of this network was to bring together a group of neighbouring farmers and identify their priorities. The group has focused on key issues they want to tackle; some related to flood risk mitigation, but many others on topics including improving the value chain for their products, public goods such as habitat restoration and understanding and reducing their carbon footprints.
- Improvements in water quality, in particular reductions in sediment and phosphate throughout the catchment, from Natural Flood Management measures;
- Increased biodiversity in blanket bog, upland heath and hay meadows;
- Improvements in habitats for species, in particular wading birds;
- Training to provide greater knowledge and understanding of flood risk reduction and to build a holistic view of the catchment
The Wharfedale NFM CSFF network was funded through the CSFF Northern Flood round in 2017 as a response to the flooding in the North of England caused by Storm Desmond in December 2015.
Flood events happen in this area several times a year and there are longstanding issues such as sedimentation, soil loss and pollution levels in the Wharfe catchment. While the flooding itself is further downstream from where network members are based, there was a desire amongst farmers to use NFM measures to tackle these problems and work together collectively.