Six km or riverside fencing has been erected along the banks of the Spey in the Boat of Garten area under the “Pearls in Peril” LIFE project (see here ). This project aims to protect and enhance the instream habitat within the river for the benefit of the famous Spey Freshwater Pearl Mussel population (FWPM). Until recently the Spey population of FWPMs was considered one of the best in the world with an estimated population of 10million plus. There is now considerable concern about the health of the population with abstraction (and its effects) and ranunculus implicated in the apparent decline in the population.
FWPMs are hypersensitive to issues such as siltation and nutrient enrichment so any works that we can do to reduce diffuse pollution inputs should be beneficial. To that end the stretch of river in the vicinty of Boat of Garten was identified as an area where fencing to exclude sheep and cattle from the riverbank would help protect the integrity of the riverbank whilst also reducing silt and nutrient inputs.
I only had time to take a few quick photos from the road yesterday but the fencing looks good.
Well done to Duncan Ferguson and the “Pearls in Peril” project officers for delivering this habitat improvement project. This project will also benefit other apsects of the Spey ecology including salmon and trout.