In order to improve fish passage up the Ballintomb Burn the “Irish Ford” pipe bridge across the lower reaches was replaced with a proper bridge in 2004 as part of the LIFE project. The Ballintomb Burn is noted for its dark peaty water, in fact yesterday you couldn’t see the bottom if it was more than about 6″ deep.
I had never surveyed the Ballintomb Burn before but as we are currently trying to balance the electrofishing survey plan with the need to prepare for forthcoming meetings etc Polly, Kirsteen and myself nipped out to fit in two surveys in close proximity to the office yesterday afternoon.
The survey site in the Ballintomb Burn was described as “500m upstream of Irish Ford”; a vague description, but the site photos combined with the GPS allowed us to find the exact survey site with little difficulty. As in many burns with a high level of tree cover the rocks were very slippery with algae; along with the dark water it was tricky wading.
We caught quite a few fish including 10 salmon parr.
There a decent history of surveys at this site, mainly due to the involvement of the LIFE project, and it is pleasing to see that quite an improvement in the fish stocks have been recorded.
There is only a short length of the Ballintomb Burn available to migratory fish due to the presence of a large set of waterfalls. The gains from the investment made by the LIFE project were therefore relatively modest but by making it accessible to migratory fish returns will occur now and for evermore more.