WFD and Catchment Restoration
– Scoping Project
Background to research
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) introduces a new way of managing
the water environment of Scotland. Whilst much of Scotland’s
water environment is in good condition initial assessments by SEPA
suggest approximately 40% fail to meet environmental standards that
support good ecological status as required by the WFD. A significant
contributor to the pressures on these water bodies arise from impacts
on river morphology from historical engineering, urban developments,
agriculture and electricity generation.
Objectives of research
This project aimed to pilot a process for identifying and prioritising
catchment-focused remedial measures to improve river habitats and
morphology. The process is intended to provide a consistent and
transparent method of prioritising remedial measures at the scale of
waterbodies and catchments, in order to provide Area Advisory Groups
(AAGs) with a robust strategy within which to apply their detailed
Key findings and
Key words: WFD, morphological, pressures, restoration,
decision support tool, decision support framework
- A relational database and spatial query tool have been
developed to provide summary information on pressures on individual
water bodies that collectively constitute a catchment.
- The work has identified the need for and provided a flow
network that recognises the spatial dependencies between individual
water bodies that constitute a catchment.
- The work also identified that the existing data on
morphological pressures needs to be linked to water bodies.
- The spatial query tool and databases allow users to
identify what the main pressures are on a given waterbody.
- An index of Potential Benefit of Restoration (PBR) for
water bodies and catchments was developed. Together with the flow
network, relational database and query tool, the PBR provides a
semi-automated method to prioritise morphological restoration measures
at the catchment scale.
- The prioritised morphological restoration measures were
used to develop an outline plan, which highlights waterbodies that will
benefit most from morphological restoration.
- The tools also allow users to identify waterbodies where
measures to address nonmorphological pressures (e.g. water resources)
should be given equal or higher priority.
- Matrices have been developed to help decision-makers
identify potential implementation options for the prioritised
- The project identified that it will be crucial to have a
significant input of local technical and stakeholder knowledge to
develop an agreed, feasible prioritised restoration strategy at the
- River Basin Planners and AAGs provide the mechanism for
participant and stakeholder involvement. This will also help to develop
local ownership of catchment restoration frameworks.
- The framework has been trialled on the River Dee, NE
Scotland. The process provides scores and restoration priorities which
local knowledge and anecdotal evidence would support.
- Future requirements for the work include:
- Further development using
the revised and updated river classification and other related data as
they become available
- Further trialling on
catchments that are more complex than the River Dee and where there is
- Further involvement of
River Basin Planners and potentially AAG members in testing and
developing the approach proposed
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£25.00, less 20% to FWR members.
The report is available for download from the SNIFFER Website