After years in the development and planning, work to stabilise Catrine Dam and improve the fish pass is now under way.
I met with SEPA, CCT and the contractors this morning to discuss concerns I highlighted last week over the altered flow down the fish pass. We also discussed the overall project and timescale of the works. Over the next 24 weeks there may be some disruption to flow and fish passage but these will be kept to a minimum. Both the Bailiff Co ordinator and I have requested that we receive advanced warning of any interruption to fish passage to allow for us to monitor any fish in the area and to organise adequate protection for the fish.
Currently most of the river is being diverted down the lade and through the voes to allow the contractors to establish their site and install sheet piling. Andersons modifications will commence shortly too, alongside the rest of the dam encapsulation. The fish pass modifications will take place shortly but as yet we don’t have a timescale for this. The photo of the fish pass today shows the flow at the designed capacity of around 0.5cubic meters per second. With a few tweaks here or there, the improvement should soon be obvious as turbulence and entrained air have been reduced and fish should pass the structure with less difficulty than in the last 25 – 30 years. There is no additional provisions in place for smolt migration but hopefully most went with the last spate. Any adult salmon reaching the weir should have adequate fish passage at all times except during the working day when modifications are being made to the pass itself or at Andersons. Timing will be crucial during these stages and a careful watch on the weather forecast will be necessary.
We haven’t seen any detail f how the tailrace will be handled and how fish will be discouraged from entering this as it wasn’t in the planning application but I’m sure we will find out well in advance of this taking place.
I expect there may be some hiccups along the way but as long as lines of communication remain open between all parties, I hope any issues can be resolved satisfactorily and quickly. I will keep the blog updated regularly as things progress as I know there are many watching this with interest.