The moors of the Ore Mountains have been riddled with ditches and thus drained in order to facilitate forestry and agricultural use. During heavy rain, when snow melts, or during downpours, these act as canals - quickly channeling the water into the valley. The rainwater isn’t held on the surface, but rather directed to the nearest drainage ditch without delay. This increases the risk of quickly swelling streams considerably and promotes flooding.
In intact moors or on areas with moor, the rainwater slowly trickles through the topmost ground layers. Fine particles are held back, the peat moss cushion and water-permeable peat layers act as a filter capable of retaining atmospheric emissions (e.g. sulfur) as well as fine particles.
For this reason, it is very important to block the drainage ditches in the moors and thus increase the time water spends in these areas. This way, rainwater will no longer be diverted toward the valley in canals.
Raised moors are essential in protecting against floods, since the great porousness of the moor caused by the deposit of preserved organic matter is capable of retaining large amounts of water. It has also been said that they can store water like a sponge. In years with heavy rainfall, high moors can grow by up to one meter, since the peat layers, which consist mostly of peat moss, are filled with water.
Peat moss consists of little stems and twigs covered in little leaves. The top part of the peat moss is called the head. Peat moss does not have roots. It constantly grows upwards as the lower layer dies off and forms peat. This means that peat moss is not capable of tapping into nutrients and minerals at lower layers. They survive through the exchange of ions, which means minerals from rainwater is exchanged for the hydrogen ions found in the cells of the peat moss. Peat moss possesses a large number of dead cells, so-called Hyaline cells that are capable of storing water.