Looking downstream on the River Cree
Looking upstream on the River Bladnoch
Felling of commercial forestry in Galloway Forest Park
Looking upstream on the River Luce
North American Signal Crayfish
The sandy beach at Loch Grannoch
Belted Galloway Cattle, or 'Belties'
Fly fishing on the River Cree
A small upland burn
The High Cree, looking towards Cairnsmore of Fleet
A small waterfall on the Buchan Burn
A salmon from the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee
The Black Water of Dee was historically known as an important salmon river. A combination of building the Clatteringshaws Dam, acidification from surrounding dense Sitka spruce planting and very little remaining water flow resulted in the loss of nearly all fish life in the Black Water of Dee below the dam.
Water quality has been gradually recovering as air pollution has improved and the surrounding forestry has been felled and restructured to higher environmental standards. Scottish Power, who run the Galloway Hydro Scheme, have been working with SEPA and GFT to implement a number of measures to increase water flows at key locations on the catchments. Previously GFT have reported how the release of water into the lower Pullaugh Burn (outflow from Loch Grannoch) – previously it was all diverted into Clatteringshaws – has now reconnected this burn to the Black Water of Dee and brown trout parr had returned to the new channel in 2013. We are pleased to report that more trout were found in the Pullaugh Burn this summer which included the first trout fry and increased numbers of trout parr.
The water flow in the Black Water of Dee has now been significantly increased also which has improved its suitability to support salmonid fish. In previous years if you drove along the Raiders Road you could see how shallow and stagnant the river was during the summer. This has changed now and a decent flow can be seen in the river all the way down from the dam. It is so good to see the river looking so much more natural and ‘fishy’! We electrofished 4 sites on it this summer and were encouraged that good numbers of trout fry were found showing that wild trout spawning is successfully taking place. Far more exciting though was finding naturally spawned wild salmon fry at a site upstream of Mossdale. This is relatively low down the Black Water of Dee and it is the first time we know of salmon spawning in this tributary for over 30 years! The increase in water flows will have aided adult salmon access and improved juvenile salmon habitats and it is expected that fish numbers in this water will continue to rise and utilise the improved hasbitats. Disappointingly we also found some American signal crayfish at the lower site showing that these invasive non-natives are spreading up from Lock Ken.