Thursday, 2 January 2020

Loches Flood Meadows


Flood meadows, Loches.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The flood meadows along the Indre River at Loches do their thing almost every winter (this photo was taken 19 December 2019). The river is divided into multiple channels just here and the low lying grassland in between, known as the Prairies du Roy and run as a nature reserve, is allowed to flood and dry out naturally with the seasons.

Abandoned as pasture in the mid-20th century these sorts of naturally cycling meadows are no longer widespread. Nowadays they are often turned into poplar plantations supplying local paper manufacturing. But where they still exist they perform an important ecological role. They serve to purify the fresh water that washes through them, regulate floods and protect surrounding urban areas from inundation, and they are a hotspot for biodiversity, being an interface between the aquatic and the terrestrial environments. 

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8 comments:

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Interesting. There is a similar thing in Chinon that has always fascinated me... https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/37500+Chinon,+France/@47.1597549,0.2383025,959m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x47fd418161944fab:0x6a71743c76ccc047!8m2!3d47.167296!4d0.240385
It is shown on google maps dry but when the river floods it is full.

Susan said...

I can't work out from your map link where exactly you mean, but there are a lot of areas especially to the west of Chinon along the Vienne ie the Veron, that operate like flood meadows, or at least, bocage (which is damp pasture enclosed by hedges). Much of it has been planted to poplar now of course.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

look for the ponds in the middle of the map and then the brown and green strip down to the vienne where the rail bridge is,

chm said...

Do these flood meadows also help replenish the water tables?

Susan said...

I wonder if this is an old channel of the river?

Susan said...

Yes, because the water sits and either evaporates or soaks slowly into the earth. Anything that soaks will percolated down into the underground natural water basins.

Ricks Carson, Atlanta said...

Are there any such meadows along the Claise?

Susan said...

I can't think of any significant ones. Yohann Sionneau the river technician would be the one to ask.

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