At this stage, we want to share information about our plans with local communities and other stakeholders. One of the objectives of undertaking this engagement is so that, once our consultation period opens later this year, local stakeholders and the community will be able to share their feedback with us directly, having had the time to understand the potential plans in greater detail. For now, if you have any comments or questions, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proposed river restoration work at RSPB Scotland Insh Marshes is not designed as a flood alleviation scheme. However, we are exploring options to deliver natural flood management measures by slowing the flow of water within the Marshes. We appreciate that flood risk is a key concern for local communities and have carried out extensive research with our consultants to model various flood scenarios, to ensure this work will not negatively impact surrounding communities.
Whilst this project is not a flood alleviation scheme, on a landscape-scale the wider ecological restoration work undertaken by the Cairngorms Connect Partnership will further help mitigate flood risk. Restoring peatland, planting montane scrub and expanding the Caledonian Pinewoods on a landscape-scale will help capture and slow the water flow, further reducing the worst of the flooding downstream through natural flood management techniques.
Further information about our proposed solutions will be available in Summer 2023.
Insh Marshes is a 1,000-hectare floodplain stretching between Kingussie and Kincraig along the River Spey, with 850-hectares of this floodplain managed by the RSPB Scotland. It is one of the largest and most important inland wetland areas in the UK, supporting a variety of wild and plant life. It is managed by RSPB Scotland and part of Cairngorms Connect, a partnership of neighbouring land-managers committed to a bold and ambitious 200-year vision to enhance habitats, species and ecological processes across a vast area within the Cairngorms National Park.
A floodplain is a large, flat expanse of land that forms on either side of a river, stretching to the valley edges. Created over thousands of years as the river meanders back and forth across the valley floor, floodplains are a dynamic system that provide a range of benefits to the ecosystems and communities that surround them.
The river restoration project's key objective is to restore and reconnect the river and floodplain by removing historical modifications. The primary outcome and main driver for RSPB are that the work will improve the habitat for the range of wetland and riparian species found on the reserve.
For example, removing embankments to reconnect the floodplain, will result in an increase of fen, marsh and swamp habitat, creating more space for species such as waders, rails and ducks.
Meandering (or ‘re-wriggling’) the tributaries and adding woody material within the river, will create a mosaic of habitats such as gravel banks, improving conditions for aquatic species, including Atlantic Salmon, Freshwater Pearl Mussels and invertebrates such as the rare Northern Silver-Stilettofly and Five Spot Ladybird.
The proposed options will impact only a small area of the reserve, and people will still be able to access and enjoy RSPB Insh Marshes. Any work will be phased and carefully planned to minimise disturbance for visitors, and the wildlife breeding and wintering on the nature reserve.
The options won’t impact the River Spey core path, and access along the river for recreation will still be possible. The River Restoration project will improve habitat for a wide range of species, so we are hopeful that the wildlife at RSPB Insh Marshes will only get bigger and better for local communities and visitors!