Moss of Kinmundy
Moss of Kinmundy is a lowland raised bog covering an area of approximately 50ha. It is located just over 5.5 km south-west of Peterhead, at the very eastern tip of Aberdeenshire in Scotland.
Situated within the River Ugie catchment this raised bog was identified as a priority site for peatland restoration.
Hywel Maggs, from RSPB Scotland said: ‘’It’s great to see Moss of Kinmundy on the road to recovery through restoration. I’m sure in time this will provide a significant carbon store, whilst creating homes for wildlife. Hopefully this is the beginning of a landscape scale approach to tackling the issues caused by degraded peatlands in the River Ugie catchment. We have a long way to go, but this is a fantastic start!”
The Ugie Peatland Partnership
The aim of the Ugie Peatland Partnership (UPP) is to restore 1,500 hectares of peatland across 20 priority sites within the River Ugie catchment, in Aberdeenshire.
The partnership reflects the multiple benefits provided by peatlands.
Working together on peatland restoration projects should provide multiple benefits: increased carbon storage; improved water quality; and better wetland habitats for wildlife. All of which will ultimately have long term benefits for those living and working in the catchment.
Restoration projects in the Ugie catchment are jointly funded by Peatland ACTION and Scottish Water.
Moss of Kinmundy: What was the issue?
Moss of Kinmundy was targeted for restoration due to the combined impacts of drainage, forestry and historic peat extraction, which all contribute to the drying of the carbon-rich peat soil. The drying of the soil leads to the loss of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and erosion of the peat soil into watercourses. The organic material and discoloured water reaching the Drinking Water Protected Areas downstream from drained peatlands is a major concern for Scottish Water.
How will Moss of Kinmundy be restored?
The restoration works focused on increasing the amount of water held on the peatland; to do this, approximately 700 m of ditches were blocked, 2 ha of poor growing plantation was removed, and just under 2 km of peat ‘hags’ (eroding banks of peat) were reshaped and vegetated. The impacts of the ditch-blocking are already clear to see, with water being spread away from ditches.
The restoration work was funded by NatureScot’s Peatland ACTION fund and project managed by RSPB Scotland, on behalf of the landowner.
Benefits of peatland restoration at Moss of Kinmundy
Left photo: Drains, like the one seen running bottom right almost vertically to the top of the image, can leave the water level for much of the site at the bottom of the ditch. This contributes to the drying out of the carbon-rich peat. The drying of the peat soil leads to the loss of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Right Photo: Restoration focused on increasing the amount of water held on the peatland. The ditches were blocked with peat and composite dams (plastic piling supported by a peat dam behind it).
Ditch blocking raises the water level to the surface of the peatland. A wet peatland encourages the growth of Sphagnum mosses, which are the real drivers of peat formation and storage of carbon in the soil.
Working together in partnership for the benefit of peatlands
Jared Stewart, from Scottish Water said: “It is hoped that over time, the Moss of Kinmundy peatland restoration will reduce organics and colour entering into the Forehill Water Treatment Works, at Peterhead. If peatland restoration can be undertaken at the whole catchment level we would expect to see a significant reduction in organics and colour in the water, which could potentially extend the operating life of the filters and reduce chemical and energy costs. This decrease in carbon and colour in the water would therefore be a benefit to both our customers as well as biodiversity in the area.”
Mike Taylor, who owns Moss of Kinmundy said: ‘’It feels good to be able to help the environment here, both in terms of creating habitat for wildlife and improving some of the vital natural resources such as water quality. The project has also enabled me to make a contribution to tackling climate change. Peatlands were once considered wasteland and dumping grounds, but we are now increasingly realising their importance for a wide range of environmental resources.’’
Local councillor, and Peatland Champion, Iain Taylor said: “It is important to recognise that the use of peatlands by landowners, local community and society in general is changing as time passes. It is great to see Ugie Peatland Partnership proving that these changes can be brought about by productive cooperation of many parties.”
Local Peatland ACTION Project Officer, Russell Hooper, commented: ”Whilst the primary aim of Peatland ACTION is to help meet our climate change targets, more and more we are seeing the additional benefits of restoration work; this is reflected in the support for the Kinmundy project from both Scottish Water and RSPB, and in the diversity of organisations involved in the UPP. Between 2012 and 2019, Peatland ACTION has supported the restoration of 19,000 ha across Scotland, and it’s great to see some of that investment in the North-East, where we have numerous lowland raised bogs. I would encourage interested landowners to get in touch with us to discuss what could be done on their peatlands.”
For further information, or to get involved with PeatlandACTION
Peatland ACTION case studies: We demonstrate links between peat condition and: fisheries; grouse; carbon storage; wildlife; landscapes; human history; and so much more.
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