IT IS the king of fish and one of the best places to fish it in central Scotland is the River Teith.
Today, a £ 350,000 project aims to restore and improve the upper reaches of the Teith River watershed to ensure that Atlantic salmon and other species can continue to thrive.
Work on the River Teith catchment project to reverse biodiversity loss in the river has just started on the River Larig, near Lochearnhead.
This is one of many major salmon river projects across the country aimed at reversing the decline in Atlantic salmon numbers.
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They include work on the River Tyne in East Lothian to remove obstacles in the river that prevent fish from reaching spawning grounds.
The River Teith project will see thousands of trees planted along the river corridor to ultimately provide shade and shelter for wildlife such as salmon, trout and lamprey.
Large pieces of wood will also be added to the river channel to increase stream cover and stabilize, but also diversify the habitat in the stream – something that is lost due to the lack of trees. along the banks.
Timber placed in the channel will provide cover for the fish while using natural river processes to create ponds, tracks and rafts.
It will also provide a food source for invertebrates, which will improve the diet of salmon and trout.
The project will also reduce excessive erosion, caused by poor habitat structure along the riverbanks, by using wood and other natural materials to strengthen the riverbanks at key locations.
It is hoped that this will help native vegetation and trees to take hold along the sections of the riverbank so that they can eventually take over from the woody structures that have been put in place.
All the activity has been developed in partnership with the landowner who says he is in favor of restoring the river and improving the watershed as a whole.
The project is being led by the Forth Rivers Trust after the charity secured funding of just under £ 350,000 to restore and improve the sources of the River Teith watershed.
Funding was provided by NatureScot’s Biodiversity Challenge Fund to support restoration and enhancement, and a co-financing contribution of £ 10,000 for the project was also provided by Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.
Trust staff will work on the project throughout the year, and a call has been made by the Forth Rivers Trust for volunteers to help carry out the work.
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Alison Baker, Director of the Forth Rivers Trust, said: “Creating an environment in which our native fish can thrive is of paramount importance if we are to ensure that we do not lose these iconic species, especially the salmon. Atlantic, trout – both resident and migratory – lamprey and eels.
“These species are in decline due to the impacts of land use as well as threats from climate change.
“The Larig, as the source of the Teith system, is vital for spawning and juvenile fish, as well as supporting the ecosystem and wildlife throughout the watershed.
“The work will also start the process of making the river more resilient to an ever-changing climate due to global warming. This project is vital for the restoration and protection of nature for future generations.
Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, said the project is “a great example of partners coming together to restore and improve nature and help mitigate the very real effects of climate change “.
Mr Watson added: “Restoring biodiversity and the natural environment in the national park is of vital importance.
“Many of our iconic habitats and species in Scotland are in decline, so this is important work to restore and enhance the headwaters of the River Teith and to create an environment where native fish species can thrive, despite the increase in temperatures caused by climate change. ”
The project is one of a number of initiatives to boost Scotland’s wild salmon numbers, which have been declining since 1971 and falling short of conservation targets.
They include an attempt to bring wild salmon back to the River Tyne in East Lothian by removing barriers and potentially opening up about 200 km of waterways to migrating salmon and sea trout.
According to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa), the work is one of the biggest fishing canal projects he has ever undertaken.
He estimated that up to 90 percent of the River Tyne in East Lothian was inaccessible to fishing at one point or another.
The disused spillways that once diverted water from the river to the mill’s waterwheels are being examined to see if they can be removed, and the river has opened up to the movement of fish.
The river is known to Outlander fans, with Preston Mill and his waterwheel featured prominently in the popular TV show’s first series.
Work has already started to remove Knowes Weir near the landmark, while talks are underway with the National Trust for Scotland, which oversees Preston Mill, over dredging work at the site.
Meanwhile, an investigation is being conducted on the Ness River to identify steps that can be taken to protect the habitat of wild Atlantic salmon in the river.
The Ness District Salmon Fishery Board hopes it will eventually lead to action that will help counter the decline in fish numbers by protecting and enhancing the species.
The board of directors says that the quality of habitat is subject to “increasing pressure from human activities and climate change”.