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Funding boost for biodiversity restoration in the River Dee

River Dee
River Dee
“The funding is a fantastic boost for river restoration in Deeside and builds on the huge benefits of earlier schemes. The support of landowners is fundamental, and their keen interest in providing for nature – large or small, rare or commonplace – underpins our funding success"

Two projects aimed at restoring biodiversity in the River Dee catchment will receive more than £350,000 from a new competitive national fund from Scottish Natural Heritage. The Aberdeenshire projects were selected alongside 12 others across Scotland to share £1.8 million in funding to help the county meet its international biodiversity commitments.

The Dee Catchment Partnership, who will manage the projects, aims to support those with responsibilities for water management, quality and restoring habitat in the area. The organisation includes many partners including the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen City Council and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Dr Susan Cooksley, manager of the Dee Catchment Partnership and a scientist at the James Hutton Institute, said: “The funding is a fantastic boost for river restoration in Deeside and builds on the huge benefits of earlier schemes. The support of landowners is fundamental, and their keen interest in providing for nature – large or small, rare or commonplace – underpins our funding success.

An important aspect of the projects is that they include evidence-gathering by the James Hutton Institute and River Dee Trust, so in years to come we will know exactly how the river system has benefitted from this funding. These exemplary, partnership projects will bring long-term improvements for nature on a landscape scale, and collectively will help to build resilience for Deeside in the face of the climate emergency.”

Both projects will bring large-scale improvements to watercourses in the River Dee catchment. The Easter Beltie Restoration Project in the middle Dee will receive £200,000 towards restoring a section of the previously-straightened Beltie burn, while the Dee Riparian Habitat Project will benefit from £158,000, to be used for tree-planting and other habitat improvements in tributaries in the upper catchment. Both projects will be completed by late 2020.

The Beltie project will restore the 1.5 km stretch of burn that was moved for the creation of the Deeside railway, as Dr Cooksley explains: “By introducing meanders back into the Beltie, we will greatly improve habitats for fish and invertebrates, reduce the impacts of forestry and agriculture, and lower the risk of flooding downstream.

“The restored site will be rich with river and wetland habitats where nature can thrive. Its heart will be a new meandering channel, connected to its floodplain and improved by extensive native tree planting and open wet ground in the surrounding area. We will re-establish woodland connections to the downstream river corridor, and create access so that people can enjoy a thriving natural river system, and learn about river habitats and their biodiversity within this wild area.”

Flora Grigor-Taylor, Riparian Habitat Advisor with the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board (DDSFB) describes the Dee Riparian Habitat Project, commented: “Targeting priority species such as freshwater pearl mussel, Atlantic salmon and otter, we apply practical measures to create, restore and enhance riparian habitats throughout the Dee catchment.

“In a warming climate, summer water temperatures are a key concern in unshaded, upper tributaries, which are vital for spawning and juvenile salmonids.  The funding will allow us to plant 10,000 native trees and improve a 12km stretch of in-stream and riverbank habitat.”

Notes to editors

For a complete list of projects funded visit: https://www.nature.scot/nature-fund-announced-ps18m-given-biodiversity-projects

The Dee Catchment Partnership includes the James Hutton Institute, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council, River Dee Trust and Forestry Commission Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage and Aberdeen Harbour.

The aim of the Biodiversity Challenge Fund is to enable targeted action for priority habitats and species, accelerating efforts that will help Scotland meet its international biodiversity commitments.

Fulfilling a commitment in the Programme for Government, SNH will administer investments of around £1.8 million over the next 2 years on creating and improving habitats for key species and encouraging increased access to nature.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/funding-boost-biodiversity-restoration-river-dee on 20/10/19 01:41:57 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.