On the instructions of the Board, ART staff have been working to secure agreements between famers and landowners to fence key areas within the catchment. Whilst we still await positive responses from landowners on the Culroy Burn, we are hopeful that the land agents will secure approval from their clients. Elsewhere, almost 4km of fencing has been agreed with landowners and ART now have instructions to take this forwards and get the fencing erected. This is great news and a very positive commitment from the Board.
Some of the problems with areas currently unfenced are access and slope. We have identified that bridges across several burns will be required or culverts may need reinstalled to allow fish to migrate upstream. On other burns, green engineering may be appropriate combined with tree planting to reduce erosion in severe cases. The Board will look at each requirement individually and may choose to support this work in addition to the fencing.
Overall this should bring great improvements on several burns and hopefully in time we will be able to demonstrate that fish numbers are improving. The photo below illustrates a huge improvement at the Purclewan Burn following fencing erected in 2012. This was a severely impacted, silty cattle watering point. It is now narrowing with good marginal fish cover and reduced silt. Water quality is improving.