Progress at Catrine

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I am aware of increasing concern over the plight of the impending salmon runs. Anglers and Club officials have contacted me seeking information on what is happening and that is why I am updating the blog so regularly with details as they become clear to me. I’m always happy to provide information when it is available to me but this isn’t always the case. We have requested details of the method statement but haven’t yet seen it. We can’t provide comment on things we don’t see. Apparently there were no plans for fish rescues from work areas. Fish rescues are standard practice in situations where fish populations are put at risk by development. Has we been shown the methodology, we would have recommend this action. Ultimately it was only when we saw the water disappearing from the silted pools that we could seek intervention. We shouldn’t be left guessing at what comes next. I know the timescale between planning permission being approved and work commencing was short but somehow we feel there should have been consultation on what was required for the fish. Perhaps there was but just not with us.

There have been a few comments reaching me about the colour of the water downstream of Catrine and the impact this may have on fish running and angling. We agree some silt is escaping downstream. After being on site for two days, it appears to me that the silt may arise from the piling operation and is drawn into the voes where the bulk of the flow is currently diverted. It then re enters the river approximately 800m downstream of the weir. ART will ask the contractors advice and if necessary SEPA  on how best this issue can be addressed. Another observation we made when the river was in spate was that the entire voes system coloured up as most of the flow is currently diverted here. Although the river cleared reasonably quickly upstream, the voes take rather longer to clear and consequently the river downstream of the tail race was coloured for longer than normal. Again we will discuss this situation with SEPA but I’m not sure what could be done to prevent this at the moment as the river has to be diverted to allow the work area to be established fully. The sooner the contractors complete piling , the sooner we expect flows to be returned to the river (but again I’m guessing as we haven’t seen a method statement).

We have been given verbal indications of the works planned for just a few days ahead but we don’t feel this is adequate. If we could see and discuss the project timescales in detail, perhaps we could provide anglers with a clearer picture of what they should expect and when (obviously the weather may cause delays).  Anglers the length of the river should be kept informed of likely disruptions to their fishing.  You pay for it, and clubs and owners pay their dues to the DSFB so it’s everyones right to expect to know how and when fishing will be affected. ART and the DSFB have continually reminded CCT that this isn’t just going to affect the Catrine Community but every angler and riparian owner the length of the river. CCT don’t appear to have any plans to inform the angling community directly, so  ART and the Board will provide what details we have. Until the Board web site is up and running (due shortly), ART will share details on this blog and try to answer the many questions you have. You can contact me by phone during the day on the office numbers, by email or through the Trust’s Facebook page.

ART are aware of the many concerns raised so far and they are all valid but the hope is that the items included within this development to improve fish passage will bring significant benefits for migrating species. Of course we would have preferred a new fish pass altogether but this wasn’t forthcoming. Lets hope the design operates significantly better than before but quite how this can be judged remains unclear as there are no base line data collected on migration through the fish pass before the job started despite request for this from ART and the Board. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens and monitor populations downstream to see what, if anything changes.

As an indication of the level of interest in what’s going on at the Dam, one recent FB post received over 2800 individual visitors in about 36 hours. We normally receive around 150 – 300 hits per post.





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