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Habitat improvements

River obstructions

There are a large number of obstacles caused by debris in the River Ythan mostly in the tributaries.  Volunteers from the Ythan River Trust have worked to remove the obstacles or ease their impact on the flow of the waterways.

Work has taken place in the mainstem at the Fyvie Estate, Keithfield Burn, Tifty Burn and Bronie Burn.

Going forward the Ythan District Salmon Fishery Board Bailiffs will continue the work to remove obstacles in the river catchment.


Fish ladders

Fish ladders (or steps) have been built on the Keithfield Burn at Keithfield Lake. These ladders enable fish to pass over or around the manmade obstacles there.

The Keithfield Burn is one of the two main tributaries of the Kelly burn which flows through the Haddo Country Park.  The 2012 habitat survey identified that two obstacles to upstream fish migration existed on the Keithfield Burn at the lower end of Keithfield Lake.  One was the main outflow which had impassable falls and the secondary outlet, which at one time had a fish pass that had fallen into disrepair.

Map Keithfield lake and burn showing the location of the main outlet, secondary outlet

In 2015 the River Ythan Trust agreed a solution to install weirs with staggered slots to increase both the water depth and to provide resting places between the weirs for trout to recover whilst on their upstream journey. The small head height between weirs means most of the time little fish jumping will be needed.

The construction was delayed until 2017 due to the flood damage at Jim Adie’s property in Inverurie at the beginning of 2016.  The construction was carried out by Mike Stewart and Jim Adie, both experienced builders and Trust Directors, working as volunteers.  Mike rebuilt the collapsed side wall of the channel then together they built the weirs using steel rebars fixed into the channel walls, the timbers for the weirs fixed onto the rebars – pointing was used to complete the fixing into the channel walls and in a few places the channel walls were heightened. The lowest part of the channel at the confluence with the stream from the main outfall was adjusted using boulders to create suitable access for migrating fish.

For more information about the construction of the ladders, the survey of the burn and the options considered you can download the report on the fish ladders by Alec Paterson from the River Ythan Trust.

More information

If you would like to know more about the project you can download the report by Alec Paterson (River Ythan Trust) from the reports page.