Improving Salmon & Trout Habitat In The Black Water Of Dee – Work Getting Underway

Improving Salmon & Trout habitat in the Black Water of Dee – work getting underway

It is well publicised at present that salmon around Scotland are struggling, with rod catches at an all-time low.  This includes the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee, with numbers of salmon recorded on the fish counter at Tongland fish pass recently being the lowest ever recorded for the Dee.

It is good news therefore that the importance of the Black Water of Dee between Clatteringshaws and Loch Ken has been recognised with a major restoration project about to be embarked upon. Returning a breeding population of salmon to the Black Water of Dee is a priority to ensure the long-term survival of the overall Dee salmon population and could also have significant environmental and economic benefits to the local area.

Galloway Fisheries Trust, supported by Drax, as owners of the Galloway Hydro Scheme, SEPA, Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and Forestry & Land Scotland, are looking to improve water quality, instream conditions and riparian habitats. The types of works under consideration include introducing gravel below Clatteringshaws Dam to increase spawning opportunities for trout and salmon, improving habitats for older fish through the addition of woody debris and planting native deciduous trees along the riverbanks. It is planned that Galloway Fisheries Trust will be working with local schools and interested volunteers to survey, design, monitor and deliver some of these essential restoration works, creating the double outcome of not just improved conditions for fish but also allowing our local students to use the scheme for project work.


Parts of the project are highly innovative, the first of its kind and scale in Scotland. The project is funded through the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme, with support from Galloway Fisheries Trust, SPEN, Drax and Forestry & Land Scotland.


Jamie Ribbens, Senior Biologist at Galloway Fisheries Trust said:

“This project is a wonderful opportunity for the various stakeholders to work holistically to deliver feasible solutions to the range of problems encountered on the Black Water of Dee.  This is a great opportunity to restore the fish populations back to this water at a time when many species are struggling.”


Nick Chisholm, Galloway Glens Project Officer, said:

“Salmon are an iconic species of Scotland and the loss of the King of the Fishes, in any river should be lamented. The Dee had the most fantastic run of salmon of any river in the Solway so this work to improve their status in the river is of the utmost importance and urgency. The Galloway Glens Scheme is delighted this support this project.”


Stuart Ferns, Drax’s Galloway Hydro Scheme Operations Manager, said:

“Drax is proud to support the Galloway Glens Scheme in the effort to restore salmon stocks and provide innovative and exciting learning opportunities for young people across the South of Scotland.”


McNabb Laurie, Galloway Glens Team Leader, said:

This is the first project of this type in Scotland, another first for Galloway! We need to pursue every avenue we can to support Salmon and other species in the Dee catchment. This is a great example of the private sector working with the not-for-profit sector, our thanks as always going to National Lottery Heritage Fund for the funding and Scheme partners including Drax, Dumfries & Galloway Council and the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.




Photo Credit: Galloway Glens Scheme

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