What is a scrape and how does it improve a wetland?

What is a scrape

A scrape is a technique used in river and wetland management that involves creating shallow areas in a body of water to mimic natural processes and promote biodiversity. The technique is typically used in areas where the water has become too deep due to human activities such as dam building or land development, which can negatively impact the health of the ecosystem.

How they are made

Scraping involves removing sediment from the riverbed or wetland to create shallow areas that can be used by a variety of aquatic organisms. These shallow areas provide important habitat for fish, amphibians, and other aquatic life, as well as for insects and plants that are important food sources for these organisms.

The benefits of scrapes

One of the main benefits of scrapes is that they can improve the health of rivers and wetlands by promoting biodiversity. By creating a variety of different habitats within a body of water, scrapes can support a wide range of different species. This can help to ensure that the ecosystem is resilient and can adapt to changing conditions, such as changes in water levels or temperatures.

Scrapes can also help to improve water quality by increasing the amount of oxygen in the water. This is because shallow areas are more likely to be exposed to the air, which can help to increase the amount of oxygen that dissolves in the water. This can be beneficial for fish and other aquatic organisms that need oxygen to survive.

Another benefit of scrapes is that they can help to reduce the risk of flooding. By creating shallow areas in a river or wetland, scrapes can slow down the flow of water, which can help to reduce the risk of flooding. This can be especially beneficial in areas where there is a high risk of flooding due to human activities such as land development or dam building.

Making a scrape

In terms of creating a scrape, it is important to work with a specialist in river and wetland management to ensure that the scrape is created in a way that is appropriate for the specific site and that it will have the desired effect. It is also important to monitor the scrape after it has been created to ensure that it is having the desired effect and to make any necessary adjustments.

Summary & additional organisations

Scrapes are man-made interventions that can have a significant positive impact on the health of rivers and wetland ecosystems. By creating areas of shallow water, scrapes provide important habitat for a variety of aquatic species, including fish, amphibians, and insects. They can also help to improve water quality by increasing the amount of oxygen in the water, reducing nutrient runoff, and promoting the growth of beneficial aquatic plants.

While scrapes can be a valuable tool for improving the health of rivers and wetlands, it is important to note that they are just one part of a larger ecosystem management strategy. Other interventions, such as river bank restoration and the management of surrounding land, can also play a critical role in improving the health of these ecosystems.

If you’re interested in learning more about scrapes and other river and wetland management techniques, there are many resources available online and from organizations such as the Environment Agency and the Wild Trout Trust. Additionally, consulting with local experts and organizations can provide valuable information and guidance on how to effectively implement these techniques in your local area

27th February 2023
Tom McNamara


  1. KzkazTut

    thanks, interesting read


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