The last of the LIFE funded smolt sampling was carried out. The last of the Eggbox work was completed by the Galloway Fisheries Trust (GFT). Just over 5km of the Ballochrae Burn had rocks placed in previously dredged stretches of the burn to develop habitat to allow the salmon to spawn. Also adding to the previous habitat work 9.2km of riparian woodland was planted in the catchment area. Health and Safety training was delivered to staff at GFT to allow them to use the electric trammel nets to monitor the salmon population. Hatchery work was undertaken to grow-out fry to be placed back into the river to aid natural recruitment. A total of 16 classes were given in two schools for Salmon in the Classroom. Interpretation panels were erected at various points along the river Bladnoch.
Thirty four days of survey work were undertaken to monitor the population of salmon in the Dee. It is hoped that this will give an indication of the effectiveness of the works carried out as part of the project. As monitoring of populations is a regular part of the Salmon Fishery Boards work this will continue long after the project. The fish pass of the Coy dam at Crathes castle was installed. A further 1.7ha of land entered into riparian land management agreements, even though the target had already been met the previous year. Just less than 10km of fencing was erected with associated gates, waterings and water gates bringing the final total length of new fence on the Dee to 34km. Seven new silt traps were also constructed. Further lengths (2.9km) of riparian woodland were coppiced completing this action. A total of 32 classes of school children were visited and given talks about salmon. An interpretation panel was erected overlooking the Culsten Burn, where felling and replanting was undertaken.
Fencing work to control erosion on the South Esk was completed. The fencing covers both banks of the river from Gella Bridge to 4km beyond the Clova Bridge. Research was undertaken on the Rottal Burn by the Centre for River Restoration Science (CRRESS), which advised that the proposal to undertake habitat restoration work would not be feasible.
Two interpretation panels were erected on the river Moriston with a third being used on school visits and meetings with river stakeholders.
The fish counter at Duchally was fully commissioned in March. A series of interpretation panels were erected at strategic locations along the river Oykel.
In early 2008 the Spey Fishery Boards 2007 monitoring report was compiled and finalised. Fish counters on the Dullen water were monitored counts were taken for subsequent reports. The fish counter on the Truim dam was installed and the design for the fish counter on the Spey dam was agreed. Fry were reared and planted out in the upper reaches of the Spey. A study day was undertaken between the fishery board and the local countryside rangers. A total of 10 interpretation panels were erected at various locations along the length of the river Spey.
Coppice work was started in the river Tay catchment.
A final CASS LIFE project newsletter was produced and distributed.
The project team were involved in the second round of filming for the project DVD. This was to film the completed actions at various locations on the river. Following this the DVD was produced and posted on the website. The project team also completed a photographic library which includes photographs of before and after at each action. Many of these photographs can be viewed in the image gallery on the website. The final conference for the CASS LIFE project was held at Battleby, Perth in June 2008 with over 80 delegates in attendance. The final conference was held over two days and involved field trips to Almondbank hatchery and the shingle islands at Ballinluig on the Tay.
In the months after the project a number of activities were still being completed. On the river Tay the last of the coppicing was undertaken and finished in October 2008 and the Tay code of practice for gravel extraction was published. The project team completed the following actions; the production of case studies, layman’s report, mapping of action sites and the final reports.
Survey work has been completed which will monitor the effects of conservation policy and netting station closures. The KoSDSFB are compiling survey results in order to draw conclusions regarding the above. Negotiations are nearing completion to purchase the remaining 3 netting stations for the project.
Work on installing a smolt splash-pool at Ceannacroc heck has been delayed but is due for completion in March 2008.
The SFB have continued to carry out electrofishing surveys to monitor the impact of obstacle removals and the restocking programme (which has also continued this year). A VAKI counter was installed at Mortlach weir and SFB staff have been working to fine tune the equipment in order to produce clear images and accurate counts of the salmon run. The smolt trap which was purchased earlier in the project was used to monitor the effects of improvements to the fish pass at Spey dam. SSE installed installed a smolt curtain at Tromie dam in March 2007. This will ensure that smolts can migrate through the dam safely. Transport Scotland began work to improve fish passage through the A9 culvert of the Milton Burn in October 2008. In total, work has restored or improved access to 43km of the River Spey and its tributaries, achieving 87% of the target to date.
Habitat and electrofishing surveys have continued to pinpoint areas where improvement work should be carried out and to monitor habitat and population improvements where habitat work has already been carried out. The final round of Natural Care scheme agreements were signed up to by farmers. These agreements cover 20 ha of buffer strips and 34km of fencing. This action is now complete for the CASS project but SNH continue to finance payments for the buffer strips for the next 10 years. Work continued to ease obstacles on the Cattie Burn by DDSFB staff. Notches have now been cut into 4 weirs which have improved fish passage through the burn. A notch was also cut into a similar weir structure on the Tarland burn which will complement other habitat restoration work on this burn. Design plans have been finalised to install fish passes on dams on the Coy and Dye burns. Work on these structures is due to begin in Spring 2008. The DDSFB constructed rubble mats on sections of the Tarland burn, bringing the total amount of improved habitat to 33420m2. The Macauley Land Research Institute is closely following this action is closley following this action and has recommended various techniques for boulder placement. A Macauley student is conducting detailed monitoring of improvement to the burn ecology. This will give added value to monitoring work work carried out by the DDSFB. FCS completed removal of debris from the March Burn during November 2007. A total of 26km of fencing has been erected along with associated gates, water gates, and waterings. A total of 19075 m of riverbanks have now been coppiced by DDSFB staff, which represents 89% of their target. The FCS have also carried out felling of coniferous plantation on the March, Birse and Sheeoch Burns. Felling on the Culsten Burn is underway. Felled areas are being restocked with native species and 50% of this target was achieved in 2007.
Management agreements were signed by all landowners and tenants in Glen Clova by autumn 2007, and contractors began to install electric fencing in November 2007. This major work is due for completion in March 2008. A fluvial geomorphological audit of the Rottal Burn is underway and will be used to inform a design, created by the River Restoration Centre, which will improve juvenile habitat on this straightened channel.
The Tay DSFB have been carrying out salmon population surveys to monitor the benefits of this work. SSE completed the schedule of works on the Lochay in April 2007. Fish passage was improved over 3 natural obstacles by repairing the existing step-pool fish passes. The functioning of the Borland lift fish pass was improved at Lochay dam by removing accummulated sediment and replacing gates and valves. The counter flume was replaced and a Mark 11 counter was installed in April 2007. The counter installation was not part of the CASS project but will aid monitoring. Following the report and recommendations of the fluvial audit and consultation with river stakeholders, a draft of the Code of Practice for gravel extraction on the River Tay, and a draft Best Practice guidance for gravel extraction for salmon rivers in Scotland, have been produced, and final drafts should be ready in mat 2008.
The VAKI counter is continuing to function well and is producing good images of salmon migrating upstream.
Electrofishing and habitat surveys have continued and are being used to compare against baseline data to detect any changes within the salmon population following habitat improvement works. The smolt trap purchased earlier in the project has been used to monitor the 2007 smolt output from the upper tributaries. Sampling of spring salmon scales has now been completed and the results are being analysed. Eggbox work has continued to monitor egg hatching success. The GFT have carried out various habitat imrovement works in 2007 bringing the total area of salmon habitat improved to 31692 m2. This is actually 226% of their original target! The high level achieved has been due to extensive work on the Polbae burn. A fish pass was installed on the Polbae dam and an Irish pipe bridge was removed and replaced by a wooden bridge a short distance downstream. Both of these actions improved fish access to the upper reaches of the Polbae burn where the FCS have removed large areas of coniferous plantation forest to improve water quality. Other habitat improvement works carried out in 2007 included boulder placement and debris removal on the Killeal burn, reduced shading on Drumdow and Killeal burns, debris removal on the Ballochrae burn and boulder placement on the Grange burn. The GFT have now erected a total of 4147m of fencing. Fencing was carried out on the Grange burn and Killeal burns during the reporting period. Log and xmas tree work, a common technique used to stabilise riverbanks, was carried out on the Bladnoch at ‘The meetings’ in September 2007. 136m of riverbank was stabilised which should prevent silting of gravels, valuable spawning habitat. The GFT have now planted a total of 12,600m of native deciduous trees to diversify riparian woodland structure. The restocking programme continued through 2007. The GFT purched an electric trammel net, boat, transport tanks and associated equipment to improve the efficiency of broodstock capture and transport.
The third project newsletter can be seen was circulated in Autumn 2007. There has been much coverage in the media (TV, radio, newspapers and magazines) both locally and UK-wide. The final annual partner meeting was held at the Birnam Institute in October 2007. There will be a project conference held in the Battleby Conference Centre on the 11th-12th June. More information can be found here. The Salmon in the Classroom programme has been completed on the Rivers South Esk, Dee, Oykel, Tay, Moriston and Spey. Many of these partners are continuing the programme beyond the CASS project due to its success and popularity.Partners are continuing to install interpretation panels in prominent spots around the SAC. The DDSFB held an information day for forestry managers in October 2007. The KoSDSFB have now held a total of 3 stakeholder events which have included field trips and electrofishing demonstrations. The SFB have held a total of 4 demonstration days for stakeholders. SNH presented the draft
The interim report and claim was submitted to the EC in April 2007 and was accepted by the Commission in December 2007. The third progress report, covering project activities between December 2006 and November 2007, was submitted to the EC in February 2008. Local Operational Planning Teams have continued to meet throughout the year.
The Kyle of Sutherland DSFB held an awareness in Bonar Bridge in July to raise awareness of the project. Much time has been spent visiting anglers on the river to promote the catch and release policy. Work continued on the salmon in the classroom programme and a total of 4 school classes have been visited. The rights to a total of 3 netting stations have been purchased and one leased. Cessation of netting at these stations will allow increased numbers of salmon to migrate upstream to spawn. Survey work has continued to monitor the effects of conservation policy and netting station closures.
Work has been carried out by Scottish and Southern Energy to modify an impassable structure on the River Moriston. This should allow salmon to migrate upstream and spawn in the upper stretch of this river. Fish survey work is continuing to monitor the effects of this work.
To date, 8 man-made obstacles have now been made passable and work to improve passage through one further barrier is underway. The Spey Board are continuing with their stock-enhancement programme above these barriers to assist re-establishment of the salmon population in newly opened up areas. Survey work is taking place to monitor this process. The Spey Board have begun their Salmon in the Classroom programme and visited 5 local primary school classes.
Forestry Commission Scotland have felled around 24 hectares of coniferous plantation to improve habitat for salmon on a tributary of the Spey.
The Dee Board have progressed work on easing man-made obstacles on the Beltie and Cattie Burns. A design to install a fish pass on the Coy Burn has also been produced. Instream placement of rubble mats has continued and 8544 m2 have been laid to date. 12747 m of fencing has been erected and management agreements covering almost 15 ha of riparian land have been signed. These agreements will ensure protection and development of a buffer strip which will improve bankside stability and increase stream productivity. 23 silt traps have been constructed to reduce sedimentation in burns and silt trap maintenance contracts have been issued covering the next 10 years. Coppicing work has also continued and a total of 9073 m has been completed. Six schools in the Dee catchment have been visited by board staff to educate primary school children about their river.
Forestry Commission Scotland have surveyed several areas on the Dee catchment and produced 4 management plans which will inform work to help improve stream quality within plantation areas.
The fluvial audit carried out in 2005 concluded that significant levels of bankside erosion in Glen Clova could be alleviated by erecting a fenceline to exclude livestock. Buffer strips should then be established to stabilise bank sides. Management agreements are currently being drawn up between the EDSFB and landowners and tenant farmers to maintain proposed fencelines and buffer strips for the next 10 years. SNH will finance maintenance and repair due to flood damage. Once agreements have been signed construction of the fenceline will begin. The schools programme has continued in 2006, with a total of 4 school classes visited to date.
Work has begun on the gravel audit of the Tay, results of which will be used to inform guidance on gravel extraction on the River Tay and on salmon rivers in Scotland. Scottish and Southern Energy have been continuing work on obstacles on the Tay and have improved passage through 2 fish passes this year and alleviated passage through natural obstacles on the Lochay. The Tay DSFB have been carrying out salmon population surveys to monitor the benefits of this work. 7 primary school classes have been visited to date as part of the salmon in the classroom programme.
The VAKI counter purchased in 2005 was installed in the Gala Water fish pass. Modifications were made to the structure of the fish pass to accommodate the counter. A camera in the counter has already recorded fish passing through.
Monitoring activities by the Galloway Fisheries Trust have continued. Smolt trapping continued in 2006 as did the adult scale sampling programme, Good results were obtained from eggbox work. Various works have also been carried out to improve instream habitat. Debris has been removed from 3 burns which has improved access to 3050m2 of habitat. 1906m of fencing has been erected to prevent livestock access to burns and 10400m of native trees have been planted in riparian zones to stabilise banks and provide cover for fish. Work has continued reseeding tributaries with local strains of juveniles This will help to kick-start populations in newly restored areas. Engineering plans have also been produced to install a fish pass on a dam on the Polbae burn. A 99-year lease for netting rights was purchased by the Bladnoch DSFB. The nets will be out of commission for the length of this period.
Forestry Commission Scotland have felled over 39 ha of coniferous plantation forest. This will help to improve water quality of adjacent burns.
Interpretation panels to be sited on 7 out of 8 of the project rivers were designed and produced. Mobile display boards which will be used to promote the CASS project at events were also produced. A study tour to the 'Urgent actions for the Endangered Houting' LIFE project in Denmark took place in September. The report can be read here. A website for salmon in the classroom, created by the Galloway Fisheries Trust, went live in March 2006. The second annual newsletter was published and distributed in June. Filming started on the project DVD in May on 3 rivers (Spey, Dee, South Esk) to get 'before' shots of sites where work will take place. The film crew will return next year to capture the 'after-effects' of the project conservation actions. The Annual Partners meeting was held in November. There has been much coverage in the media (TV, radio, newspapers and magazines) both locally and UK-wide.
The Spey Fishery Board and the Galloway Fisheries Trust have all produced newsletters/briefings which can be viewed here.
The Dee DSFB had a display at the Banchory Agricultural Show in July which they used to promote project actions on the Dee.
Colin Bull resigned as Project Manager in November 2006 and was replaced by Samantha Hessey in February 2007. The second progress report was submitted to the EC in June. Local Operational Planning Teams have continued to meet throughout the year in seven areas.
Kyle of Sutherland District Salmon Fishery Board undertook their baseline monitoring surveys of juvenile Atlantic salmon and made a start with various awareness-raising activities amongst stakeholder groups. The first part of a salmon net buy-out was completed and education events with local schools were started. Improvements to fish screening at a hydro dam were made undertaken by Scottish and Southern Electric.
The Ness District Salmon Fishery Board commissioned baseline fish and habitat surveys on the upper river and a survey of the distribution of Freshwater Pearl Mussels was undertaken. Both these activities were in preparation for alterations being made by Scottish and Southern Electric in 2006 to increase the rearing area available for juvenile salmon in this highly-regulated system.
The Spey Fishery Board undertook baseline fish surveys and continued with its enhancement programme to assist with the re-establishment of salmon populations in areas upstream of currently impassable man-made barriers. Two high-tech fish counters were purchased and a smolt trap manufactured to monitor the success of engineering projects to improve passage of salmon across man-made obstacles. Four such obstacles to salmon movement were addressed by engineering works in 2005.
The Dee Fishery Board undertook baseline fish and habitat surveys to identify areas where habitat improvements would benefit the salmon populations. Instream habitat improvements were started on the Beltie Burn, with rubble mats being placed to increase habitat quality. Coppicing was started in areas of riparian woodland where tunnelling was reducing light penetration and reducing productivity. Contracts to establish large areas of riparian fencing, to reduce the effects of livestock grazing and to establish silt traps (to reduce the direct input of silt in heavily-farmed areas) were finalised. SNH finalised a Natural Care Scheme to maintain the fencing and silt traps beyond the end of the LIFE project.
The Esk District Salmon Fishery Board carried out baseline fish and habitat surveys in the area of Glen Clova, and commissioned a fluvial audit to guide further actions to protect and restore the bankside habitats along an important nursery area for juvenile salmon. Local schools were visited and introduced to the Salmon In The Classroom programme.
Scottish and Southern Electric carried out engineering works to improve fish passage at one location and finalised plans for further activities in 2006. Plans for an audit of gravel and to produce guidance on the removal of gravel from rivers was advanced. Local schools were introduced to the Salmon In The Classroom programme .
A high-tech fish counter was purchased by the Tweed Foundation for installation on the Gala Water, and plans for the engineering works required for its housing were underway.
The Galloway Fisheries Trust undertook monitoring of the water quality in the upper catchment and purchased a smolt trap. It works on running and still waters across the catchments of the River Luce, Bladnoch, Cree, Fleet, Dee (Kirkcudbrightshire), Urr, Annan, and Border Esk, aiming to conserve and enhance the biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems. Riparian tree planting was started and areas where fencing and instream habitat improvements are to be carried out were finalised and actions progressed. Forestry Commission Scotland started a large-scale clearance of bankside conifers from the Polbae Burn in order to improve conditions for salmon.
The project team advanced work on the project leaflet, website and an annual newsletter was produced (see publications). Local and national news coverage was obtained for the project (press, TV and radio) and oral presentations were delivered at one International Symposia, to a study group from Denmark and at the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards AGM.
A project officer and adminstrator were recruited to complete the Project Team. Local Operational Planning Teams were established in seven areas. Several management systems and procedures, along with guidance were produced and distributed amongst partners. The first progress report was submitted to the EC in June 2005.
A memorandum of agreement was finalised amongst the partnership.
At the end of 2004 a full-time project manager was appointed to oversee the delivery of the project.