Nevis Environmental is currently restoring 65 hectares of blanket bog for conservation using a pioneering combination of techniques for developer, Invenergy LLC, at Corriegarth Estate in Gorthleck, Highland.
The first of its kind in Scotland, Nevis’ bog restoration expertise was developed in-house to complete each aspect of the project effectively and efficiently on an active construction site under CDMC regulations.
The project involves undertaking measures to stabilise eroding peat faces and restore suitable hydrological conditions for active blanket bog. The bog and vegetation conditions are varied, with some areas supporting active blanket bog, and others modified bog vegetation or only limited vegetation on eroding peat. Areas requiring restoration were identified and, where possible, gullies were blocked using site material. The use of coir bales, a by-product from the coconut production industry, was adopted. All of these measures will work together to restore the entire site to an active blanket bog.
The balancing act of completion in an area of frequent adverse weather and high altitude within a limited time frame was achieved through effective planning and co-ordination. The presence of breeding birds in the spring and summer, shooting in the autumn and the coming winter weather, led to the implementation of a practical, flexible schedule tailored to the client. The site is within an active grouse moor meaning that timescales were adapted to accommodate the sporting season.
Dr Kathryn Fraser, Nevis’ Managing Director, said: “With over two decades of experience amongst the team, we were best placed to successfully deliver this exciting project which showcases the unrivalled expertise that Nevis offers.
“Furthermore, we are delighted to complete a project that directly tackles climate change. Blanket bog is vulnerable to changes in rainfall levels and temperature making it at risk from climate change. Being a carbon store, the restoration of the bog will lock in the carbon and prevent further escape.
“Peat bog is also incredibly important to Scottish history and brings a wide range of environmental benefits, such as providing rare wetland habitats for birds and other species. After the restoration of the bog, the water holding capacity increases raising the water level and allowing a greater rain holding ability. This reduces the risk of flash flooding in high rain fall events preventing flooding.
“We look forward to continuing our work with Corriegarth Estate during the operational stage of the wind farm.”
A helicopter was used for material transport around the site along with innovative use of machinery and careful planning to limit any damage to the existing habitat while the work is being carried out. The project began early June and is on schedule for completion in late November 2016.