IT IS A REAL privilege to be a trustee of the Forth Rivers Trust (FRT) – and it is especially satisfying when I see the environmental dividends brought by the Trust's work in my home area of Clackmannanshire.

Recently, I took part in a site visit with FRT interim co-directors Jonathan Louis and Amelia Heath, as well as trustees, to see at first hand the work in progress at the Pool of Muckhart Natural Flood Management Initiative.

Funded by NatureScot's Nature Restoration Fund, the scheme aims to deliver a series of improvements to support biodiversity whilst aiming to slow the flow of a local burn to mitigate possible flooding impacts in Muckhart.

This is being achieved through the creation of flood overflow channels, wetland scrapes, leaky dams, as well as reconnecting a historically straightened channel to its floodplain.

The scheme is a partnership between Clackmannanshire Council, Pool of Muckhart Flood Group, Muckhart Church and Forth Rivers Trust.

The community have been at the heart of the project, developed alongside the flood group with their ideas and suggestions helping shape the initiative.

It was a blisteringly hot day when I visited the site, and with the burn that flows down from Seamab Hill totally dried-up, it was hard to imagine that at some times of the year it can be a fast-flowing torrent.

The work has taken place in a sheep pasture – known as Glebe Field – just above Muckhart, where two wooden deflection barriers have been installed to divert floodwater down a new channel that leads to a newly created scrape, which will turn into a pond brimming with life.

The water flow will then carry on to a boggy, rush-filled basin in the field where three further small ponds are situated. On the main part of the burn, 'leaky dams' made from logs have also been installed, which will help slow the flow of water.

The project has received funding from NatureScot's Nature Restoration Fund, matched by money from the European Union via the MERLIN project, and has had ongoing technical support from Clackmannanshire Council.

The lower ponds were filled with water when I visited – and what a wonderful place they were, with common blue damselflies, large red damselflies and four-spotted chaser dragonflies flitting low over the surface.

This was a place already abounding with new life.

Wildflower seeds have been sown by Muckhart Primary School to add further biodiversity and colour.

It was wonderful to see a natural solution being brought to flood management – which at the same time will enhance biodiversity and a provide new place for nature to thrive, benefiting both the environment and the Muckhart community.