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Author Topic: River Almond (Lothian) weirs - RFFT progress and public meetings  (Read 3666 times)

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Offline tomcatin

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I know that there are a load of folks on here that fish routinely the River Almond (the Lothian version :) ) so thought this would be of interest

The good folks at the River Forth Fisheries Trust have been working really hard developing plans to improve fish passage through seven weirs on the Almond from Crammond as far upstream as Seafield.

Alongside RAFTS, SEPA and RFFT working in partnership have commissioned the consulting engineers Atkins to undertake a study to improve fish passage over seven weirs ( Fair-a-Far, Dowies Mill, Midcalder, Rugby Club, Howden Bridge, Kirkton, and Seafield). The aim is to

Quote
The seven weirs included in this project are known to have a cumulative effect on the upstream and downstream movement of salmon, eels and other migratory species. Currently, as a result of this, much of the Almond waterbody is classified by SEPA under the European Water Framework Directive as “Poor”. Addressing the cumulative impact of the seven weirs on fish passage would help improve the status of the waterbody and help us reach the goal of the River Almond being classified as “good” under the Water Framework Directive. 

Enabling passage at the sites would improve the aquatic environment, striving towards long term sustainable water management and a sustainable ecosystem

They have completed the majority of surveys and data gathering and are now beginning the process of "optioneering" by  reviewing and comparing the benefits and risks of each option. They are keen to encourage the publics engagement in this process and consequently have arranged two public meetings:   

7pm Tuesday 5th May - Howden Park Centre, Livingston
 
7pm Monday 11th May - Cramond Kirk Hall, Cramond

An outline of the scheme can be found here http://www.fishforth.co.uk/rfft/files/2015/04/Community-Newsletter.pdf

Please share!

It really is fantastic to see several years of grind by the Trust beginning to get somewhere.
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Offline tomcatin

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Re: River Almond (Lothian) weirs - RFFT progress and public meetings
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2015, 11:35:40 PM »
Any idea what sort of fish passes are being considered? I don't think you can be the tried and tested step and pool type as long as the downstream end is in the right place (but this goes for all passes). Sadly step and pool ones are usually not the cheap option.

Andy, I really don't know to be honest but many of these weirs are already equipped with fish passes some of which are quite substantial affairs (the Fair-a-fair weir at Crammond is quite an impressive structure but probably in completely the wrong place set hard against the far bank). I think the Fishery Trust staff have a really strong understanding of the weakness of the traditional approach to fish pass construction.

On my local river (the Devon) on that part of the river run by migratory fish there are two significant weirs at Dollar and at Cambus (the tidal limit but an active structure used as an impoundment for fire fighting water for the adjacent massive Cambus whisky bond). The weir at Dollar was equipped with fish passes in the last twenty years or so and the one at Cambus in the last ten years.; despite their relatively modern construction neither are at all easy for fish to pass. RFFT have recognised the failings of these passes and I am happy to report that they have been able to sponsor physical improvement works on the Dollar weir which will be completed sometime in 2015. Hopefully subject to funding and the co-operation of the bonds owners (a well known spirit supplier) further improvements will me made at Cambus.

I cannot praise highly enough the staff at RFFT, they are beginning to make a real difference on the entire catchment not just on the high class migratory waters of the Teith and Allan Water but most importantly on the many post industrial rivers and associated burns in the catchment (Devon, Black Devon, Carron, Avon, Almond, Water of Leith, Ore, Leven &  Esk) 
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Offline tomcatin

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Re: River Almond (Lothian) weirs - RFFT progress and public meetings
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2015, 12:34:09 AM »
I hate to say it but i'm fairly cynical about any of this ever coming to fruition, They are supposedly doing the same type of surveys on the Esk and Tyne and have spent hundreds of thousands doing so, does anybody seriously expect the removal of the weir at  cramond, a renowned tourist spot? They always make it sound imminent but nothing eve happens its always 5 yrs down the line.
Sorry to be cynical and I hope I'm wrong but I've heard this stuff for years.

Ali, I genuinely understand your cynicism and to be frank, I  think based on past performance that it is well founded.  That said I detect a huge change in the commitment to delivery on the industrial rivers by both the Fisheries Trust and Salmon Board over the last couple of years (probably reflecting the change in management?).

I doubt that they have spent " hundreds of thousands" on their surveys of the Esk & Tyne......... there are only a few paid bodies at the RFFT; their salaries are relatively modest and spread throughout the catchment.

Regardless of my interest as an angler, as some one with a passion for industrial archaeology I really hope that the plans for the  Fair-a-Far weir at Crammond do not result in the destruction of this magnificent structure (and I doubt that this would be anywhere near the most effective solution ...........I am sure some old fashioned groyne work would be sufficient to direct migratory fish over this superb structure to the already impressive fish pass!)

Regardless you have an opportunity to contribute by attending one of the meetings  :D
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Re: River Almond (Lothian) weirs - RFFT progress and public meetings
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2015, 12:34:09 AM »