There are not many fish counters on the Spey so it was interesting to hear that Rio Tinto were going to make the substantial investment in a new counter at Spey Dam. The works to install the counter took place over the last two weeks and it should be operational today. The counter is a resistivity type with electrodes build into a fibreglass crump weir that was installed in the channel below the dam. The flow should have been reinstated over the counter last Friday but the heavy rain brought the dam to the point of spilling over the top so the workmen were withdrawn on safety grounds. The works are now planned to be finished today.
It’s no secret that we have major concerns regarding the impact of Spey Dam on the river and its fish populations so it will be very interesting to see the fish counts.
It can be seen from the photo above that the water coming from Spey Dam was dirty again. The very heavy rain last Thursday and consequent spate must have mobilised the earlier landslip on the Markie, it was running a milky brown colour just like a river below a melting glacier. The Rio Tinto site guys made the interesting comment that the last time there was a landslip of this scale on the Markie it was the following spring before it cleared properly. We don’t find salmon in the Markie now but there are reports that it used to be a considered a good salmon burn.
The Spey below the dam was of a similar colour. This may have a detrimental impact on spawning below the dam this winter.
Here’s a view of the River Spey at Garva Bridge above Spey Dam taken 30 minutes later. Spot the difference?