Supporting Natural Flood Management
Sussex Flow Initiative (SFI) is a Natural Flood Management project formed in 2014 as a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sussex Wildlife Trust and Environment Agency. The Project was originally set up to help to reduce flooding in the Ouse river catchment in central Sussex. In 2016 Lewes District Council joined the partnership, and in 2018 the project was expanded to include the Powdermill catchment in East Sussex.
We work with landowners, local communities and others to naturally slow down and store flood water in the landscape through advocacy and delivery. Our 2019 End of Year report and Summary are also now available to view. Summary SFI EOY report 2018 19 FINAL
In 2017, we celebrated 5 years of working in Natural Flood Management. Since the start of our project, we have achieved a huge amount. You can download our 5 Year Summary Report here, or scroll through our online showcase for more information.
Natural Flood Management (NFM) uses natural processes and landscapes to help reduce flood risk and to increase resilience to drought. The techniques we use deliver multiple benefits for people and wildlife. Natural Flood Management techniques include :-
- Re-wooding landscapes to reduce flooding and run off
- Planting hedgerows across slopes to capture rain
- Using permeable surfaces and rain gardens to store run off
- Restoring river channels and meanders
- Restoring natural washlands
- Natural erosion control
- Reversing drainage of moorland, woodland and heathland
- Using and managing Natural Woody Material in watercourses
- Increasing surface water storage i.e. in ponds
- Recycling roof and greywater run-off
- Reducing (sub surface) land drainage
The Government has produced a range of Guidance on Working with Natural Processes to reduce Flood Risk, including a Series of useful one page Summaries on different NFM techniques such as leaky dams.
Our project officers can also give you advice on natural flood management. :-
- For the Ouse SFI Project, please Contact Matt Turley at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07590 020323
- For the Powdermill SFI project, please contact Fran Southgate whilst we recruit for a new project officer.
- For enquiries about NFM in the rest of Sussex contact Fran Southgate at email@example.com or on 01273 497555
For more information about how we work to reduce flooding naturally, you can download our Working with Natural Processes SFI Case Studies, or our Focusing on Flow leaflet, or watch our You Tube Video about Natural Flood Management.
High Water, Common Ground is a fantastic short film about what a community can do in response to flooding. We also recommend the Stroud Rural Sustainable Drainage Project resources, including a documentary on the Principles and Methods of Natural Flood Management in small streams and their catchments.
The following are useful national resources on Flooding, Natural Flood Management and Natural Woody Material in rivers :-
- Fish Live in Trees Too (Guidance on natural wood in rivers)
- Community Guide to Water Management
- Sustainable Drainage Systems: Maximising the potential for People and Wildlife
- Floods and Dredging - A Reality Check
- Natural Flood Management Handbook (SEPA)
- Working with natural processes to reduce flood risk (UK Gov)
- Benefits of trees in an urban environment (Woodland Trust)
- Benefits of trees to livestock (Woodland Trust)
- Benefits of trees to arable farms (Woodland Trust)
- Trees and water (Woodland Trust)
The following National Case Studies are also of interest :-
SFI has produced and contributed to a range of guidance notes on Natural Flood Management including :-