Weir removal aids fish stocks

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THE Galloway Fisheries Trust (GFT) has been involved in organising and overseeing the removal of a disused weir within the headwaters of the Cross Water of Luce (a main tributary of the River Luce).

This weir had been uncovered following the clear felling of conifer forestry. The area of land within which the weir was situated has been clear-felled since 2009 and juvenile densities of brown trout and sea trout below the disused weir have made an impressive recovery.

To allow for the increase in juvenile trout production to continue, it was important to open up nursery grounds above the weir. After extensive preparation involving all partners (including the Forestry Commission Scotland, which owns the land, Luce District Salmon Fishery Board and Scottish Power Renewables), the weir was successfully removed and the burn returned to its natural form. Funded by the GFT and through the SEPA Restoration Fund, this project focuses on undertaking in-river barrier easements or removals to help enhance the water environment in which native freshwater fish species thrive. Barriers or obstructions can have a significant impact in inhibiting fish access to historically good spawning/nursery grounds. Fish species often affected can include lampreys and eels, as well as the better known salmon and trout.

The GFT has identified further structures across the Galloway rivers that it wishes to undertake access improvements under this current project.

The GFT would like to thank Alastair Brewster from SEPA and the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS), who have put a lot of time and effort into seeing this project succeed.

If you know of a disused weir on your local burn that might be considered for improvements under this project, the GFT would be keen to hear from you and asks you contact its office on 01671 403011 to speak to Rowan Armstrong.