Culroy Burn…Making Improvements

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Yesterday, ART staff accompanied one of their Trustees were back on the Culroy Burn at Sauchrie planting more native hardwood trees within recently fenced buffers.
With rain forecast, it was an ideal opportunity to transplant trees growing in ART’s own nursery at Auchincruive, to a permanent location on the Culroy Burn. This burn has been the focus of much attention to improve  both water quality and the habitat and ART and the DSFB have collaborated with landowners to ensure that the problems of erosion, livestock poaching and enrichment have been addressed. After 3 years work, the quality of the habitat has improved greatly and the burn now provides clean spawning gravels for the first time in many years.

ART staff discussing where to plant more trees. In all, around 70 native hardwoods were added yesterday.

The condition of the substrates has improved immensely since the fencing and other improvements were made. Just a year or so ago, these substrates were thick with silt.

We removed a small weir in this stretch at Sauchrie last spring and planted a variety of native trees during the project. Some trees failed in the drought, so ART decided to replant a further  70 native trees that they grew on in their office garden. These trees were lifted as saplings last year from derelict ground (with permission) and would otherwise have been lost when developers move onto the site. By undertaking simple actions such as this, the Trust is able to bring benefit to many areas at virtually no cost.

The Culroy Burn at Sauchrie where the the banks are now stable and the water quality has improved since livestock were excluded from the burn. ART staff planted more trees in this area yesterday. In just a few years, this should look an entirely different habitat that has value to fish and wildlife rather than the previously overgrazed and rather featureless agricultural pasture it once was.

ART currently  have several hundred more willow, ash, birch, alder and hawthorns to plant out this winter and shall soon be restocking the nursery with whatever young native   trees they can scavange. It is amazing just how many saplings they can gather in a short space of time and that’s got to be good for our rivers where they will ultimately end up, protecting banks from erosion and providing shade.

While at the Culroy, ART also cut two large branches that had fallen during the recent storms, damaging the fencing. They will return and repair the damage at the earliest opportunity. Keeping livestock from the watercourse is particularly important as we approach spawning time so fixing the damage is a priority for them. Hopefully, a few more salmon and trout will use this burn this year and ART will keep a close eye on things. If they find anything of interest, they will share details with this page.

Further downstream near Minishant, the burn has also improved and both salmon and trout use this habitat. In time, the numbers produced should rapidly increase as spawning survival should be excellent. This image shows the quality of gravels available in a potential spawning location.

Anyone willing to assist the Trust with work on the river can contact them through their web pages at http://www.ayrshireriverstrust.org

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