My name is Daniel Pollard and I am delighted to say that I am the new intern at Galloway Fisheries Trust.
In early 2019, as part of my Environmental Science and Sustainability course at the University of Glasgow, I completed a 2-month placement at the GFT where my interest and passion for freshwater ecology really peaked which motivated me to pursue a career in conservation. I am very grateful for that experience as it is what had led me to become the GFT’s newest intern.
I began my internship on 14th June and since then I have taken part in a wide array of projects. I passed the Introduction to Electrofishing course which will allow me to be a key part of any electrofishing team which will be invaluable during my internship and will support my career going forward. My next step will be to complete the Team Leader electrofishing course within the next year by which time my electrofishing skills will have greatly developed after an eventful summer of electrofishing.
Within my first month I have had the chance to meet and talk to landowners about the National Electrofishing Programme for Scotland giving me experience in organising permissions for electrofishing and scouting out watercourses to see if they are suitable survey sites. I have taken part in the treatment and removal of Invasive Non-Native plant Species including Skunk cabbage and Giant hogweed. Giant hogweed is a particular issue along the River Urr and removal has made for some very hot days wearing the required PPE to prevent the nasty burns hogweed are well known for. Skunk cabbage on the other hand doesn’t pose a health threat, the only thing you need to watch out for with skunk cabbage is the terrible smell it gives off when it decomposes! I now understand where it gets its name.
Another couple of exciting projects that I have been involved with are habitat restoration projects taking place on the upper Luce and Loch Strand Burn. Both projects were aimed at improving instream and riparian habitat to protect salmon and trout populations. Loch Strand Burn runs through a commercial conifer plantation and had previously been straightened to improve drainage for the plantation. This meant that there was little variation in flow and a lack of instream habitat. Deciduous trees were planted alongside the burn to help provide shade and woody debris for the burn in the near future and wood kickers/chevrons and boulders were added to the burn to help alter the flow and create some deep pools, riffles and meanders in the burn so that it resembles a more natural and healthy river. Gravels will also build up behind the kickers, therefore generating some nice spawning habitat for salmon and trout. On the upper Luce the works were much the same but with more of an emphasis on erosion prevention so in places where a kicker might have been added, a revetment was added instead which is essentially a barrier that runs along the inside of the bank protecting it against the flow that would usually eat away at the bank. I will be involved in monitoring these projects this summer and undertaking similar works.
Lastly, I would like to say a massive thank you to Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership, The Hollywood Trust and GFT for giving me this opportunity.