Embracing the Power of Nature: How Natural Flood Management Safeguards Our Homes

Learn how natural flood management (NFM) can help protect us from flooding, whilst also restoring and nurturing precious ecosystems.

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Discovering the Magic of NFM

In a world where climate change is reshaping our reality, flooding has emerged as a pressing concern. However, amidst this challenge, a beacon of hope shines through: natural flood management (NFM). This approach not only shields our homes but also nurtures our communities. 

In the realm of flood management, two distinct paths unfold: the rugged, concrete-bound path of hard engineering, and the harmonious, nature-embracing path of soft engineering. This article delves into the latter — natural flood management. Focusing on restoration, natural processes and human engagement, all aimed at curtailing floods while honoring our environment. Let's delve into this tale of resilience and renewal.

NFM: Our Ally in the Climate Battle

Let's break down the benefits that natural flood management brings to the table:

  • Cost-Effective Marvels: Imagine solutions that don't just protect but do so affordably. These techniques use natural features of the landscape to store, slow down, and release water, which is often cheaper and more sustainable than relying on engineered solutions.
  • Biodiversity’s Ballet: Embracing NFM isn't just about flood defenses; it's about creating sanctuaries for life. These techniques birth new habitats, wooing diverse wildlife and nurturing native greens. Our ecosystems gain strength, a vital asset in the face of wild weather.
  • Taming the Torrents: Here's where NFM shines: reigning in floods by allowing water to pause, ponder, and soak into the Earth. The land becomes a sponge, gently sipping in the deluge. By doing so, we curb the water's rush, steering it away from our rivers and streams downstream.
  • Purity in Every Drop: NFM’s magic extends to water quality. As rainwater traverses landscapes, it gets a natural scrub—imagine it as nature's own water purification system. The result? Cleaner, healthier rivers, and a more sustainable water supply.
  • Community, United and Resilient: Finally, NFM knits communities together. When neighbors and nature collaborate, resilience blooms. Planning and implementing NFM solutions with people at the heart, we create more resilient communities that are better able to cope with extreme weathers. 

The Playbook of NFM Techniques

In this section, we dive into the array of NFM techniques, spanning from grand landscapes to intimate backyards:

  • Wetland Wonders: Wetlands act like sponges, soaking up water and in turn slowing down the flow of water during floods.
  • Tree Magic: Trees are like nature's superheroes. They absorb water through their roots and stand guard on riverbanks and vulnerable spots to prevent soil from washing away, curbing erosion and slowing down water flow.
  • Gabions: Nature’s Guardians: Gabions, stone-filled sentinels, protect riverbanks. These structures resist erosion, encouraging waters to meander gracefully. 
  • Rooftop Gardens: Imagine having a garden on your roof! It soaks up rain like a sponge, which means less flooding.
  • Friendly Pavement: Some pavements are water-friendly. They let water seep through, so it doesn't flood the streets.

These techniques, diverse as the landscapes they enrich, bear testimony to nature's boundless creativity. But each landscape calls for its own bespoke prescription of NFM techniques, as each place is unique and NFM thrives on as little disruption as possible. 

Real Stories: Nature’s Triumph

There are numerous examples of NFM triumphs across the globe that have proven to be effective in mitigating the impacts of floods on communities and their surroundings. 

One in particular is close to home for us at Yoke  - River Wye Natural Flood Management Project, UK

In response to the devastating floods of 2007, the UK’s river Wye NFM project emerged. This honed in on techniques such as planting trees along the river banks, creating leaky dams and re-introducing meandering rivers. The outcome, as predicted, reduced flood risk by slowing down the river water, in turn improving overall river health.

And this is just a single victory of NFM techniques, there are many many more that give us hope for resilience!

You, the Natural Flood Management Champion

We’ve talked a lot about people being at the heart of this community and nature based solutions, so the good news is that you can be a part of it too! Here are some ways you can encourage natural flood management in your community:

  • Learn the NFM ABCs: Get to know NFM like it's your favorite song. Learn about the tricks and why they're awesome.
  • Spread the Word: Tell your friends! Share NFM stories on social media and let everyone know how cool it is.
  • Talk to the Experts: Share your NFM excitement with local experts and planners. They'll love your ideas!
  • Green Ideas Rock: Suggest more green spaces in your area, like parks and gardens. It's like giving nature a high-five.
  • Start at Home: Want to be an NFM hero at home? Create a rain garden or use water-friendly paths. It's like giving your house its own superhero shield.
  • Join the Team: Help out with local NFM projects. It's like joining a superhero squad that fights floods!

Natural Flood Management isn’t merely a solution, it’s a ray of hope, in fighting the impacts of the climate crisis, hero’ing the amazing benefits of Earth’s nature and nurturing the power of community, to build a safer, kinder world - one flood-defying step at a time.