cbec and project partners RSK, Walking-The-Talk and Salix completed a study to develop and appraise restoration options for a 2.5 km section of the Den Burn, a heavily modified waterbody in Aberdeen
The aim of the project was to deliver morphological improvements through restoring natural river process and realising opportunities to reduce flood risk downstream while achieving multiple benefits (i.e., improvements to ecology and biodiversity, access links, visual amenity and sustainability), ultimately improving the current waterbody status of the burn.
To achieve this, a desk-based assessment of the management reaches and surrounding catchment was undertaken to inform subsequent field assessment and options development. Outputs from detailed geomorphological and ecological surveys undertaken were used to inform a constraints assessment and the development of site-specific options for six individual management reaches. Development of the restoration options was underpinned by a process-based approach. Objective assessment of options used a screening process that considered physical and ecological processes and site-specific conditions (e.g., services, infrastructure, landowner attitudes, cost of build, etc.), as well as addressing stakeholder concerns. A series of artistic visualisations was produced to support stakeholder engagement, with two workshops held to discuss the options with key stakeholders and to obtain feedback on the proposed options and constraints.
The final output was a detailed project report that identified a preferred option for each reach that would be taken forward to public consultation and detailed design. The report also discussed pre- and post-restoration geomorphic conditions of the reaches, estimated costs for design and implementation, risks and mitigation measures associated with each option, additional surveys recommended for future phases of the work and a buildability assessment to identify early risks associated with construction.