As previously mentioned on out blog page, we were invited to attend SEPA’s demonstration event to inform landowners of the rules and regulation over ditching, dredging and engineering. The event was held today in Darvel courtesy of Mungo Guthrie who is facing several erosion issues on his land.
This event was well attended although I would like to have seen more farmers turn up (but then again, I always want more!). There were numerous consultants and advisers on hand to answer questions and of course Muir and I were there to highlight the importance of considering the fish and fish habitat. We have also been involved in bank stabilisation using green bank techniques of late and I think SEPA appreciated having our experience on hand.
We started by rescuing the fish from river where the machine required to cross. Normally, machinery in the river is discouraged but as there was no access from the right bank due to houses built on what is technically a flood plain, there was no option in this case. Fish duly removed, (to the surprise of more than a few), the machine crossed the river and started to scrape a layer of dry gravel into a heap. Care was taken to ensure there were no ruts or dips left.
This gavel was full of fine sediments and was removed off site using tractor and trailer rather than allowing it to was downstream. Care was taken to avoid entering the river as much as possible. The point of removing the gravel was to increase capacity of the river channel during spate conditions thus reducing pressure on the eroding bank opposite. I doubt if this is a long term solution in this case but it should buy the landowner some time until a more definite plan can be worked out for next year. We will try and assist with this if possible.
We provided the assembled audience with a quick demonstration of electrofishing to show that although they can’t see fish, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. We also offered to provide advice to anyone needing it and made sure everyone has our contact details.
There was also a demonstration of ditching provided and hopefully this will alleviate some of the horrendous issues we come across.
Over soup and a sandwich in Mungo’s barn, we answered questions and discussed issues with those interested. SEPA, SCRIPD , SAC Consulting, and of course ourselves were all on hand. This was a worthwhile event that I hope SEPA can repeat across Ayrshire over the next year or so. We should be able to assist with demonstrations at some of the sites we’ve worked on.