Many readers have followed our progress as we undertook the challenge of stopping erosion at two locations at Kilkerran on the middle Girvan. I though it was now an ideal time to provide another update that shows just how much has been achieved. Of course these are just two sites that contributed thousands of tonnes of soil to the river and there are plenty more elsewhere we would like to tackle in future, but what is really important is that our efforts are successful and erosion has largely ceased.
Going back in history, this section of the river was straightened and levied nearly two hundred years ago. Prior to that the river meandered widely across the flood plain but as agriculture developed, efforts to improve the land led to massive straightening in this catchment. Consequently many many years later, it should come as no surprise that the river is trying to revert to a more natural course. Of course land managers generally don’t want that to happen as it would impact on their ability to farm the land and while we like to see unaltered and natural rivers, the reality is that there’s only a handful of areas in Ayrshire where man hasn’t changed the course or function of watercourses over centuries and restoration on a catchment wide scale is not feasible.
Restoring the entire river to its original course is unrealistic and could potentially lead to huge silt issues for many decades to come with potentially catastrophic results for wild salmon and trout stocks. The strategy we adopted was to stabilise erosion where the river was attempting to break out of this long established channel. By doing so, we hoped to reduce silt inputs which in turn would benefit productivity in the lower reaches.
The photo gallery below charts the progress made over the years since the Trust first became involved back in 2011 when we gave advice on what techniques may be suitable to address what was becoming an increasing problem for the landowners. ART first took steps to stabilise the bank in April 2016 after an earlier attempt by the owners had failed to bring about the desired result. We have revisited many times since then and watched as the banks revegetated. Of all the techniques employed, none were more important than fencing as this step allowed the green engineering techniques to flourish and achieved the desired results.
Landowners, land managers or anyone involved in river management wishing our assistance or advice please call us. We are more than willing to help others with this type of work and have considerably more experience than most. We experiment with many different techniques throughout our operations and like to think our pioneering approaches and lessons learned will help others too. We can provide a full installation service and are willing to help landowners prepare the appropriate CAR applications for SEPA and SRDP or other grant funding where necessary. We aim to help SEPA and landowners achieve compliance with General Binding Rules, improve water quality and protect bathing water standards all in line with the obligations imposed by the Water Framework Directive that the Government signed up to.