I was alerted to bridge repairs underway on the Burn O’ Need last friday by the landowners at Wealth of Waters. He was concerned that the deep pool downstream of the bridge had been infilled and left a shallow torrent. Having ‘had a look’ in the pool during last year’s electrofishing surveys, I was immediately concerned. Below the bridge is a concrete invert that is difficult for salmon to pass at some flows and the pool down steam provided a safe resting spot for these fish and larger trout in the burn.

The once deep pool now filled with rock. The concrete invert below the bridge is difficult for salmon to pass but uuntil now, at least a few managed.

The once deep pool now filled with rock. The concrete invert below the bridge is difficult for salmon to pass but uuntil now, at least a few managed.

We headed to the burn this morning as we had planned to fish this area anyway. When I arrived, the pool at the bridge was gone. Rock armour lined both the sides and the stream bed. The right bank had been cleared of all vegetation and is liable to erode due to the altered flow pattern.

The right bank is bare and the thalweg of the river now deflectes the flow against this bank.

The right bank is bare and the thalweg of the river now deflectes the flow against this bank.

I spoke with both the contractor and the Council engineer and we agreed with a compromise solution that wouldn’t affect the structure but would benefit fish migration. It didn’t require much time or effort for the contractors to put things right and I’m confident that it will be corrected by now. SEPA had been consulted but failed to pick up on the fish migration issues so I asked if the roads department would include either ourselves or the DSFB in future consultations as we have specialist knowledge of most Ayrshire fish populations. I’m certain we all want the same thing and this may help to achieve it without any extra effort. We have also offered to provide the Roads Engineering department with an electrofishing demonstration to illustrate the variety of habitats that support fish and the species we may expect to find. Hopefully we will deliver this soon and it will be a very useful exercise.

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