Stages in the creation of a peat dam across a raised bog surface drain

In May 2014 I visited Ballysooghan raised bog in Co. Kildare to observe the restoration work to block an extensive drain network on the bog surface, which is being undertaken at the site. Shown here are the stages in the creation of a peat dam to block a recently installed surface drainage ditch on this raised bog. Thanks to Bord na Mona for facilitating the site visit. 

Peat dam 1

1: A section of bank composed of surface scraw and catotelm peat is removed from either side of drainage ditch and place behind excavator.

Peat dam 2

2: Surface vegetation is removed from behind excavator, to expose saturated wet catotelm peat.

Peat dam 3

3: Saturated wet catotelm peat is repeatedly removed from borrow pit behind excavator and placed in the drain. 

Peat dam 4

4: Removal of wet saturated catotelm peat from borrow pit behind excavator.

Peat dam 5

5: Peat dam is raised above surrounding peat surface (this allows for future shrinkage of the dam).

Peat dam 6

6: Peat dam is covered with living surface scraw materials taken from margins of drain. This helps re-growth of surface vegetation on the catotelm peat of the dam.

Peat dam 7

7: Peat dam is lightly "tapped down" to stabilise it and remove any cavities to ensure it is impermeable to the flow of water and will make a good seal.

Peat dam 8

8: Borrow pit is back filled with peat removed from edge of drain at the start of the process and the surface scraws removed from the area initially.

Peat dam 9

9: Completed dam with digger moving forward to the location of the next drain.

Peat dam 10

10: Appearance of completed peat dam created approximately 2 weeks earlier. Note the raised water table in drain, relative to the water level in the still functional drain seen in stage 3 photograph above.

© Peter Foss 2012