The Upper River Ayr today as the river burst its banks and flooded onto the fields.

Well as expected, when it started raining after the long period of drought this summer and autumn, it hasn’t stopped and the last 2 days have been the wettest for some time. October is the wettest month this year so far and it still has a few days left.

Today we dropped off trailer loads of willow and birch brash ahead of a project we hope to soon deliver near Wellwood on the Ayr. As with several other projects we have lined up on other rivers, river bank instability is damaging to both water quality and spawning habitat and by addressing this, we hope to improve fish habitat, fish stocks and egg survival. We use a combination of green engineering techniques to stabilise eroding areas and hopefully in time, these areas offer better habitat and cover for fish.

A hanging fence that needs replaced. Trees will be planted inside the new buffers and the bank reinforced with brash and other green engineering techniques.

The rain can’t stop us and we hauled several trailer loads of willow and birch brash to a storage area ahead of our work commencing

More brash to deliver when we find time

We announced this work at last night’s Ayr Board meeting and I was rather surprised by the lack of enthusiasm from some DSFB members. I can’t think of much else that a Board could be more enthusiastic about than restoring habitat and improving water quality but we all have different expectations and priorities. None the less, we will deliver our project confident we are making a difference for fish, habitat and landowners grateful for our assistance. In turn these benefits should help improve stocks in the river and in turn angling for years to come.

The Trust is an independent charitable organisation and not the Board on any river. We support the 4 Ayrshire Boards and provide advice and other management services in return for an annual donation to help fund our work. This donation is raised through the levies, gathered from Riparian landowners or tenants and ultimately the anglers on the rivers under Board control. It is gratefully received by ART and contributes towards our annual running costs. Boards have their own remit and priorities as do we and the two may be different and frequently are however, differences can lead to healthy discussions and often new approaches to tackling old problems. I’m sure we all want the same things after all and that’s naturally well stocked, healthy rivers for this and future generations.
Additionally where we can and frequently do, we provide advice, consultancy, fish rescues and projects etc. on the 2 Ayrshire rivers without Boards (Irvine and Garnock).
Board’s operate within the remit laid out in the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 (as amended) while the Trust’s constitution is our guide and standard of operation.  This may change as voted on and directed by Trustees or in response to new scientific understanding on the conservation of wild salmonids and fishery management. Our independence is important to allow us to consider issues affecting rivers impartially.
There is only so much we can do with the staff we have but we are willing to help any landowners or clubs that need advice or assistance to improve areas. Just give us a call to discuss ideas or arrange a visit from the biologists.
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