Black Water of Dee Habitat Restoration Project – Spring Volunteering Programme Launched!

The Black Water of Dee, from Clatteringshaws down to Loch Ken, is hosting a really exciting, internationally innovative project to support fish populations. This week sees the launch of a volunteer programme giving an opportunity for everyone to take part and help out!

The Black Water of Dee is the largest tributary of the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee. Running from its source, deep in the Galloway Forest Park, through Clatteringshaws Loch, and down to Loch Ken, it derives its name from the dark colour of the water. The lower section of the Black Water of Dee River runs through the Galloway Forest Park, largely following the route of the Raiders Road Forest Drive, passing the popular Otter Pool visitor site.

The ‘Black Water of Dee Habitat Restoration Project’ is now underway, consisting of three main activities which, considered together, make up an innovative response to the challenges currently being faced:

  • Addition of nearly 500 tonnes of gravel from elsewhere in the catchment to increase the available spawning habitat in the river
  • Selective removal of conifers encroaching on the riverbanks, reducing the acidification challenge
  • Planting of suitable native trees along the banking. These will provide shade, protecting the river from temperature stresses and will input woody debris.

Work is being led by Galloway Fisheries Trust, with support from the Galloway Glens Scheme (using funds from the National Lottery Heritage Fund), Drax – the owners of the Galloway Hydro Scheme, Forestry & Land Scotland and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

This week sees the launch of the Spring Volunteering Programme, a series of seven events running between March and May. These events will be supporting the work of the project with activities from tree planting through to surveys and electrofishing.

The events are as follows:

  • 10th March – Deciduous tree planting and river channel modification
  • 24th March – Installing large woody debris features and tree planting
  • 7th April – Conifer regen clearance, installing large woody debris features and tree planting
  • 14th April – Invertebrate survey day
  • 21st April – Installing large woody debris features and tree planting
  • 28th April – Electrofishing demonstration
  • 12th May – Gravel loosening

Anyone interested in learning more about the project and able to help out is welcome to join the Galloway Fisheries Trust team on these volunteering days. To manage numbers, please book in advance, registering your interest with [email protected] or 01671 40 3011. See attached poster for details.

Looking ahead to the volunteer events, Rowan McCleary, Biologist at Galloway Fisheries Trust, said:

“Not only is this a chance for you to find out more about the Black Water of Dee Habitat Restoration project, but you’ll be actually helping make it happen! Please do get in touch if you can join us on one or several of our volunteer days.”

Nick Chisholm, Galloway Glens Project Officer, added:

“What an opportunity for people to get out, enjoy the fresh air, learn new skills and put something back into the environment. Galloway Fisheries Trust are an exemplar organisation for conservation in the region. Who better to show you the ropes?!”

For more information about the project, visit the Galloway Fisheries Trust website, https://www.gallowayfisheriestrust.org/.

Note: The River Dee is often described as the ‘Kirkcudbrightshire Dee’ to differentiate it from the river in Aberdeenshire of the same name.


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