Another burn and another culvert that causes problems; the Cloyntie Burn in the Girvan catchment is a tributary of the Burnton Burn, a tributary of the Lady Burn joining the Girvan upstream of Kilkerran.

We survey this burn periodically and have found salmon upstream of the Barndonna Bridge culvert on one previous occasion but in very poor numbers. Today the team surveyed upstream and downstream of the culvert and it would appear that salmon didn’t spawn upstream last year or if they did, we din’t find them. This wasn’t unexpected based on previous findings.

Good habitat and full of trout in the upper reaches of the Cloyntie Burn but not a salmon to be found

We fished two locations upstream and found good numbers of trout in what we consider good to excellent habitat (in moderate to good condition). It is encouraging to find healthy trout populations in some burns as far too many are impacted and poor. We also fished two sites downstream and found salmon at both.

Barndonna Bridge culvert which normally prevents salmon migration

The Barndonna Bridge culvert is slightly perched and undercut with no resting points inside however, it is not entirely impassible, but an obstacle that at certain flows may be passable but that relies on fish arriving at the right time and being in a condition that allows them to run it. Tired backend fish may struggle but really, there are too many uncertainties to view this as a passable culvert and with missing species and year classes upstream, we are going to ask SEPA to add it to the barriers list and try to promote it in terms of requiring work when the next opportunity arises. This means that the Ayrshire Roads Alliance will be asked to prioritise it for easement when they next plan works to the culvert…but that could be 10 years or more away.

Considering how effective our newly developed baffle system appears to be at slowing flows and deepening the water, I think this culvert would benefit from ART’s attention. We will attempt to find funding and ease this obstacle asap. Another benefit of our baffles are that they are extremely cost effective when compared to the closest comparable systems imported from New Zealand and as we are geared up for installations, we can take care of everything from design and drawings, obtaining licenses and permission to manufacturing baffles and installation using our own staff. From concept to installation we estimate 4 -5 months max depending on the season work in-stream over spawning is to be avoided). Therefore, with any luck, we will attempt to fund and deliver improvements next season unless Ayrshire Roads Alliance can do so before us.

Fencing in need of repair but good habitat and worth protecting and developing

There are areas on the Cloyntie Burn that may benefit from fence repairs and others that require trees. We will see what we can do to build a project to improve this burn along its length and then look to funders for support. That’s not an easy task at the moment as most funding has been channeled to communities die to hardships created by Covid 19. There are other burns in the Girvan requiring assistance such as the Dyrock that has been so badly polluted just 2 weeks ago and the Barlewan that has historic modifications that limit productivity. No shortage of improvements to be made but a distinct shortage of cash funding available for any restoration works.

The lower section of burn has been historically straightened and latterly fenced but with narrow buffers like these, I doubt the fence will last too long as the brin continues to revert back to a more meandering state. Larger buffers may take land out of production but at least it should survive for more than a few years. Trees and perhaps some green engineering may help stabilise the burn and protect the fence.