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 2001, the GFT supervised the removal of a large impassable weir situated beside a disused fish farm at Finnarts Bay on the lower Water of App. The removal of this dam has allowed migratory fish to access extensive areas of the catchment upstream. Following the dam removal, a number of habitat works were completed on the main stem of the Water of App and in 2008 a walk over habitat survey was completed.
In order to monitor the natural recovery of migratory fish populations in the Water of App, annual electrofishing surveys have been carried out on the river since the dams removal in 2001. Most recently, these sites have been narrowed down to four that are spread across the catchment and are positioned at sites where habitat may have been unstable or access to the site by fish, limited.
The lowermost site of the four is positioned downstream of where the fish farm dam was situated. The second site is situated upstream of a culvert road bridge where access improvement work was undertaken in 2002 and above which, the river is historically unstable with gravel movement a regular feature. The third and forth sites are situated higher up in the catchment.
Electrofishing data has helped assess natural recovery of the Water of App migratory fish population, following the removal of the dam. In 2003 (two years following the dam removal), juvenile salmon were found at each of the four sites. Within the last five years, in general, salmon fry and parr, if present, are found in low or moderate density within the four electrofishing sites surveyed annually. Juvenile trout are more consistently found within the four sites and since the removal of the dam in 2001, have been found to dramatically increase in density within the upper three sites which were previously inaccessible. This is due to sea trout contributing to the spawning stock in these reaches. The most recent electrofishing results for juvenile trout have been encouraging, particularly in the upper most site where >93 trout fry per 100 m2 of water were present in 2012 and >66 trout parr per 100 m2 of water were recorded in 2013. Overall, the Water of App remains a very important watercourse for sea trout production.
Other fish species to be recorded in the Water of App have included flounders, three-spined stickleback and juvenile lampreys (each recorded within the lowermost site) and eels – present at each site, most years. It is encouraging that a healthy fish population has returned naturally to the river since the dam was removed.
There is currently no rod and line fishery on the Water of App, which makes it particularly important that continuous monitoring by juvenile electrofishing surveys and habitat surveying be maintained. This will help select areas of the river in need of habitat improvement works to maintain juvenile stocks of salmonids throughout the river.