River Dee

Oct 5, 2022 | Blog, Featured

The team at the River Dee have been shortlisted in the categories of “Coast and Waters Award” and “Nature and Climate Action Award” in the prestigious RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards 2022.

Over the last 4 years this ambitious, landscape scale partnership project is restoring an entire sub-catchment, the River Muick, an important tributary of the River Dee Special Area of Conservation designated for Atlantic salmon, freshwater pearl mussel and otter.

Many who love to walk in the area and visit Lock Muick will be familiar with the landscape of this popular place in the Cairngorms National Park, but the sheer scale of the project and how much work has been done is not widely known to many members of the public.

Successful partnership working between the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board, Balmoral Estate and Glenmuick Estate, as well as the River Dee Trust and Woodland Trust Scotland, has brought together restoration measures on a scale not done before: habitat for spawning and juvenile fish has been created by the installation of 70 large wood structures, each comprising several logs with root plates; a 350m section of blocked channel was reconnected by removing a 150 year old man-made embankment; wetlands have been created and enhanced by installing 78 leaky dams and 112 debris dams on minor burns, blocking drains, and creating 16 new wader scrapes; 7000 metres of banks have been protected by new fencing to exclude livestock and remove instream waterings to mitigate diffuse pollution; and, nearly 140,000 have been planted along the banks of the Muick to provide cooling shade and nutrients to the water.

The project delivery team liaised closely with keepers, tenant farmers, landowners, and factors, as well as contractors and government bodies to successfully complete this complex programme of works.

Dr Lorraine Hawkins, River director said “We are thrilled that our Glen Muick River & Wetlands Restoration project has been short listed for these awards. Habitat restoration must be at the forefront of biodiversity action if we are to halt, or better still reverse, the fortunes of our valuable native wildlife. Our project will help safeguard the river, floodplain and the wildlife that depend on it, with the iconic Atlantic salmon the keystone bringing many people and organisations together to work in partnership to mitigate climate change.”

The finalists for the awards will be announced at the Awards ceremony in Edinburgh next month. If you want to find out how you or your company can help us plant #OneMillionTrees by 2025 then visit the River Dee.

River Dee Trust & Dee District Salmon Fishery Board (DDFSB)
Contact – Debbie Cooper – Development & promotions officer
07979 878971

Background Information

  • Wild salmon are under extreme pressure and in recent years we have seen a marked decline in the numbers of fish returning to our rivers. In the 1960s around 40% of fish that left the river to feed in the ocean returned as adult fish. Today that number has dropped to around 2-3%.
  • The River Dee Board and Trust have been planting trees in the Upper Dee catchment as part of a programme to restore the catchment and protect salmon and freshwater pearl mussel populations. We aim to plant a million trees by 2035.
  • Salmon fishing on the river Dee contributes approximately £15 million to Aberdeenshire’s economy and supports around 500 rural jobs.

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