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
In late 2015 Galloway Fisheries Trust (GFT) purchased three sets of EXO 1 water quality monitoring sondes. This equipment is designed to constantly monitor water systems and provide a detailed insight into changes in the water chemistry over a period of time. These devices are classed as multiparameter 4-port water quality sondes so monitor a range of parameters at the same time. The EXO 1 sonde is designed to last 90 days in the field gathering and recording data every 15 minutes. It is made up of four main sensors which monitor pH, water depth, oxygen, conductivity, water temperature and dissolved organic material (peat stain) in the water. The sensors are highly accurate and provide comparable data. We have built a framework for the sondes to sit in whilst deployed which will protect it from debris and extreme weather conditions.
At GFT we are particularly concerned about the low pH levels found in the headwaters of some water bodies in Galloway. It is well demonstrated that pH levels below 5 are detrimental to fish health and survival and many of our water bodies are currently recording pH levels of below 5. We are currently using the sondes to gather baseline data on three different water courses; Bladnoch, Little Water of Fleet and the Big Water of Fleet. This information will enable us to design and focus future projects accurately, and will provide us with detailed results which will help determine if particular projects have been or are currently being successful.
Two of these probes were purchased as part of a Peatland Restoration Project. In the next few months we are going to be focusing on using the sondes to gather baseline data in priority areas to aid the decision on where restoration should be carried out to have the greatest benefits for water quality and fish. These sondes will continue to monitor throughout the project and will also allow us to collect data after completion which will give a good insight into improvements made by the restoration.
Along with the work being carried out on the Fleet headwaters we have one other sonde continually monitoring on the Bladnoch which is currently focusing on a burn we know to be very acidic. Although our primary concern is pH, we are taking a detailed look into all the factors that are influencing the burns current state. This information could support GFT calls to restructure the surrounding forestry and undertake peat land restoration.
We are currently working on a new page for our website which will be focused on the work of these monitoring systems and provide regularly updates of our results.