River Habitat Improvements

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About River Habitat Improvements

The primary aim of the Esks Rivers & Fisheries Trust is to improve the health of aquatic ecosystems. One of the best ways of doing this is to promote natural river processes in areas that have been heavily modified for industry, agriculture and forestry. By encouraging natural river processes, rivers can begin to heal and to form the pools, riffles and glides that are so important to different species and life stages of fish, birds, and invertebrates.

In addition to encouraging river processes, management of the river banks and riparian zones is very important. The trust advocates native broadleaf trees being present along as much of the river as possible. Trees provide a variety of important tasks, such as stabilising river banks, providing shade and cover for aquatic species, providing a source of wood that naturally can promote river processes, and also acting as natural flood managers, by slowing flood waters and retaining water for longer in the soil.

Two projects the trust has been involved with recently have been the Rottal Burn realignment, and the Pow Burn bank modifications.

The Rottal Burn is a tributary in Glen Clova, upper South Esk. The realignment was done in 2012, however the burn is constantly changing as the natural river processes bed in, with the result that the river is continuously becoming more productive for salmon, trout and invertebrates every year. A report on the Rottal Burn can be downloaded here.

The Pown Burn is a lower tributary on the South Esk and has been historically straightened for drainage for agriculture. The project to modify embankments began in 2016 and was completed in 2018 with the planting of 600 trees. A report on the project can be downloaded here.

Did you know?

Some research has shown that post-smolts move in schools when heading to deep-sea feeding areas. Some of these fish feed in the Norwegian Sea and the waters off southwest Greenland.

These fish remain in the ocean from just over a year to three or four years.