Nature Fund's £90,000 Award to Help Restore River Habitats

July 12, 2020

Nature fund's £90,000 award to help restore river habitats

A project which aims to create a better environment for the iconic Atlantic salmon, freshwater pearl mussel and otter on the River Dee, is a recipient of the Scottish Government's Biodiversity Challenge Fund.

Restoration works along the Garbh Allt & Upper River Muick, part of the catchment-wide Dee Riparian Habitat Project, has been awarded over £90,000 to implement a range of measures. At Garbh Allt, artificial embankments will be removed and backwater channels reconnected in order to restore natural processes. On the upper reaches of the River Muick, the diversity of the channel will be increased through reintroduction of woody structures to create habitat for a range of aquatic species and reduce flooding impact. Investment in ‘green recovery’ is understood to be one cost effective way to help make our communities sustainable and more resilient, while driving inclusive economic development.

“Many of our rivers have become degraded over time and now lack variety both within the channel and along riverbanks”, explains Flora Grigor-Taylor, habitat adviser for the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board. “This in turn impacts negatively on the wildlife it is able to support, including the our wild Atlantic salmon, freshwater pearl mussel and otter which all benefit from a diverse river structure. Downstream of the project sites, these catchment improvements will bring natural flood management benefits to communities and the local area.”

The Biodiversity Challenge Fund specifically encourages applicants with innovative projects that improve biodiversity and address the impact of climate change, by increasing the resilience of our most at-risk habitats and species and creating large areas of brand-new habitat.

The Garbh Allt and Upper Muick River Restoration Project is one of 16 successful projects across Scotland announced in the second round of the £4 million Biodiversity Challenge Fund. The projects will take practical steps to improve natural habitats, safeguard plant and animal species and improve biodiversity.

SNH Chief Executive, Francesca Osowska, said:

“As lockdown conditions lift, green recovery projects like the Biodiversity Challenge Fund put nature, and nature-based solutions, at the heart of rebuilding our economy.

“But it’s not just about conservation - enriching our nature is also part of the solution to the climate emergency too. People know that climate change is a big issue but not as many know that biodiversity loss is also a global and generational threat to human well-being.

“Nature is at the heart of what we do, and we will continue to deliver the transformational change needed to bring a nature-rich, sustainable and more economically secure future for Scotland.”

The Biodiversity Challenge Fund adds to the many millions of pounds of Scottish Government funding delivered through the Scottish Rural Development Programme and other sources to support biodiversity and help to deliver Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy.