Worldwide peatlands are huge carbon stores, but damaged areas release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through oxidation processes.
Blocking up drainage ditches on the moorland will help to re-wet the peat and promote the bog grasses and mosses once again. There are many benefits to this work.
More water storage in upland catchments
Drained moorlands respond quickly to rainfall and have little storage capacity as all the water runs down the ditches into the rivers. Blocking up the ditches slows down the flow of water and increases the time it takes to get to the river. This is good for water customers as more storage in the uplands means a steady supply and less expensive pumping or reservoir building.
Better water quality
A slower flow results in less sediment and erosion in the water and cleaner water. This is good for water customers as it requires less treatment and good for wildlife in the river such as Salmon.
More carbon storage in the peat
Peat is all carbon and water so mires are huge carbon stores, but dry peat areas release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere through oxidation. Re-wetting halts oxidation and promotes active peat growth, thus increasing the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere.
More wildlife on the moors
Re-wetted mires have more bog plants, insects, frogs and more food for birds and otters.
More to enjoy
Re-wetted moorland does not mean flooded moorland, just a bit wetter in summer and some small bog pools behind the ditch blocks. Moorland visitors can use these to cross the ditches and there is now more to see and enjoy on your visits with lots of dragonflies, cotton grass and brightly coloured mosses.
More for animals to eat and drink
The new bog pools provide longer lasting drinking water supplies in dry periods for sheep, cattle and deer and the wetter ground has a more diverse mix of species in it which can give better grazing in early spring and late summer when the other moor grasses are dried out.
Fewer pests and problems for stock
Recent evidence from mire ditch blocking studies in Wales has found that the re-wetted areas have fewer ticks, no liver flukes and better access for grazing animals across the ditch blocks.
A better future
Keeping the peat wet will help to keep it in place if the climate warms up as expected. This will help to keep the moor as they are today, protecting the landscape and historic past stored in the peat and enabling all to enjoy them in the future.