Working in partnership with RAFTS and SEPA, via the Water Environment Fund, the process for improving fish passage up the Corrie Burn has started. Following a tendering process Arup, an environment and engineering consultantancy company, were awarded the contract to investigate options for improving fish passage at the Corrie Burn weir near Dufftown. The weir itself, whilst impassable, is not a major structure but the A941 Cabrach road, which lies immediately above, is. There is a supporting wall of sorts between the burn and the road, upstream of the weir, and the major concern is the stability of the wall, and road, if any actions are proposed for the weir.
Personally I think the weir should be removed but I also don’t want the potential liabilities; which will be massive if the road collapses!
However, in order to kick start the ecological and engineering assessments a site meeting was held today with Arup, Diageo (landowners), Moray Council Roads engineers, RAFTS, Spey Fishery Board and myself in attendance.
The supporting wall appears to be built on bedrock but on informal or non-existant foundations. It is possible that the course of the burn has moved towards the wall since the weir was constructed and there is an argument that removal of the weir and realignment of the burn could remove the threat of erosion from the wall, however we will leave that too the experts.
Whilst we had the very helpful roads department engineer on site Duncan Ferguson and myself, along with Brian Davidson from RAFTS, took him the short distance upstrem to look at the Mackalea Burn culvert. Although as the pipes were over 1.5m in diameter we were told it was technically a bridge. The bridge pipes aren’t too much of a problem, they are relatively short and flat, but at the upstream end there is a set of concrete steps.
No one could figure out why the steps were built but there could hardly be a worst design of fish stopper.
The steps were less that 1m high so hopefully it will be possible to develop a low cost modification to facilitate fish passage.