NatureScot award for riparian restoration project

Forestry and Land Scotland has been awarded a £25,000 grant by NatureScot for riparian enhancement work on the Garple Burn, which lies on the northern edge of Galloway Forest Park.

By Brian Yule
Thursday, 24th February 2022, 1:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th February 2022, 4:45 pm
The Garple Burn, before and after riparian enhancement work was carried out
The Garple Burn, before and after riparian enhancement work was carried out

The Nature Restoration Fund award will see non-native conifer removed from the banks of the burn (approx. 5ha total) to help make it a more attractive habitat for salmon and trout.

The work will also have a knock-on effect further downstream, stabilising the water quality feeding into Loch Doon, which has a SSSI designation for its Arctic Charr population.

Kim Kirkbride, FLS environment forester, said: “Modern forestry includes the use of open space and mixed broadleaf planting on a river’s banks to create a habitat that is much more welcoming for fish. It helps regulate water temperature, increases potential food sources for fish and improves water quality.

Sign up to our daily The Galloway Gazette Today newsletter

“Old forestry practices of 70 years ago allowed conifer planting directly up to the burn edge so projects like this, that will remove the non-native conifer from the water’s edge, will encourage fish populations back to the Garple Burn.

“The mixed broadleaf that will eventually grow here will provide a dual species benefit as it will also provide a food source for the black grouse in the area when brood rearing.

“We very much appreciate the award from NatureScot. Without this award we would not have been in a positio n to plan for this restoration for several years.”

Ayrshire Rivers Trust has agreed to monitor this stretch of water, post non-native conifer removal, to see how long it takes for the fish to return to the burn.

Additional planned felling work in the area will also remove potential seed source and limit natural regeneration of non-native conifers.

NatureScot Head of Biodiversity, Dr Katherine Leys said: “The Nature Restoration Fund supports projects that help wildlife and habitats recover and thrive.

"This is an excellent example, with non-native conifers removed to help improve water quality and encourage fish like salmon and trout back to the Garple Burn.

“We’re delighted to be able to give this project the boost it needed to get started and we’ll be supporting many more projects to tackle the biodiversity and climate crisis.”