Our fencer, Jim Thompson has now completed two contracts for us and the Doon Board this year. The Macmanniston stretch on the main river has been completed and we will agree a final measure on this next week and post some photos here. The second stretch was on the Culroy near Sauchrie which Jim and his team finished today.

These two stretches amount to over 1300m of riverbank fencing and we still have another short stretch to complete shortly. That’s got to be good news for fish and water quality. The Culroy burn at Sauchrie has now been fenced on both banks and at last the silt inputs that plague the burn downstream will start reducing. Later this year we will plant a few trees within the fences to provide some shade and eventually woody debris.

Water quality should improve and bacteria and faecal matter should no longer enter the watercourse from this stretch. Fish habitat will improve as the fine silt clears downstream. Eventually the burn should narrow as the marginal plants develop and this will cause deepening. Deep pool habitat should increase and hopefully this stretch will be able to retain water all year round eventually. Currently in drought periods, the burn shrinks to nothing and water flows through gravel deposits rather than over them. The image blow illustrates this problem. The weir held back gravel and increased the depth of these deposits to such an extent  that the water flowed through the gravel rather than over it in low flow conditions. The first job was to remove this weir as it was redundant and an unnecessary obstacle in the burn. This was done with SEPA’s prior approval. Sediment transport has been restored and the burn has cut down into these deposits in the three or four spates that followed removal. This may continue for some time.

We removed a small and redundant weir that was partially collapsed when we started this work. This was done with SEPA’s consent. Note that there was no water flowing at this time.

The current view from where the weir stood looking upstream. This image is taken from just to the right of the machine bucket in the previous photo but a month or so apart. It is incredible how much the burn has cut down into the deep gravel since the weir was removed. We estimate the bed level has reduced by up to 70cm in places. This may continue for some time to come but will eventually stabilise. At least this is getting back to a more natural habitat that will be far more beneficial for fish and invertebrates

Looking upstream towards Sauchrie. This was a cattle crossing point and livestock eroded the margins so we decided to level the ground on the left with a excavator to allow a straighter fence to be erected and will seed it next week now that the cattle and sheep are off it (we already seeded it at the time of the work but the animals trampled the area and the seed didn’t get a chance). I expect in a week or two it will be green again. We were careful not to touch the bank face.

The lower end of the fence where in 2012, we found a solitary salmon parr in this pool.

These fences were part funded by the Doon DSFB and is an excellent use of the levies collected from riparian owners and anglers. Any landowners within the Doon catchment that would like us to consider their stretch for grant aid of up to 40% of the total fence costs, then get in touch with Muir or Stuart at the Trust and one of us will see if we can help.