In the late 1970’s Water crowfoot Ranunculus fluitans appeared in the River Spey in the Grantown area; within three years it had colonised the entire lower river. This plant, which had previously not been present in the Spey catchment, is thought to have spread into the Spey from a garden pond near Grantown.
Studies carried out by the Spey Fishery Board and SNH found that Ranunculus had potential detrimental impacts on freshwater pearl mussels and salmon spawning habitat. Dense growths of ranunculus can alter the flow regime within pools and make access for anglers difficult.
Although naturally present in other areas of Scotland, this species of Ranunculus had previously not been recorded in the Spey catchment. The rapid spread of this highly invasive plant highlights the risks of introducing non-indigenous species beyond their natural range. The Spey Fishery Board continues to investigate options for the sustainable control of Ranunculus.