The Black Water of Dee Restoration Project (phase 1) was undertaken to explore how to restore natural river processes and the wider river ecology back to 20km of the watercourse. This large tributary has become severely degraded due to the drainage of nearby peatlands, extensive conifer afforestation and the construction of Clatteringshaws Dam (part of the Galloway Hydro Scheme) in the 1930’s.
In 2016 GFT undertook a study of the lower Black Water of Dee (BWD) from where it flows into Loch Ken up to Clatteringshaws Dam. Habitats over this 20km length were found to be very degraded, explaining why the ecology of the river was so poor. There is no fish pass fitted on Clatteringshaws Dam so fish are unable to access the habitats upstream. The report is available as a download.
The main concerns highlighted in the study were:
To address the multiple pressures required a wide partnership of organisations to come together. A steering group was set up with a membership of GFT, DRAX, Forestry and Land Scotland, SEPA, NatureScot, Kirkcudbrightshire Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership. A programme of works was agreed to be delivered as a phase 1. A great deal of these works were undertaken to trial restoration techniques to check their suitability to restore the BWD and also some events were held to inform the local community of the project and to give opportunities for people to get involved in the practical works.
The phase 1 work programme was delivered between 2020 - 2022 and achieved the following:
The phase 1 works have already improved instream habitats, water quality and riparian habitats. Much more needs done though and a phase 2 work programme is already planned and funding is presently being sourced.
On Saturday 26th August we held our annual Kirkcowan Fishing Competition. 35 adults and 12 juniors entered the competition this year, providing a fund of £211 that is put back into the event via prizes and a buffet.
Riparian zones bridge the gap between land and river, creating an important habitat for insects while also providing shade and protection against erosion. We do a lot of habitat work mainly to help aquatic species like fish, but we are keen to monitor and understand the wider biodiversity benefits.