Riparian Woods and the Freshwater Pearl Mussel

Scottish Natural Heritage has received European Commission funding to protect the freshwater pearl mussel on various rivers including the Spey and the Dee. This protected species has been adversely affected by habitat degradation. The planting of riparian woodland (forested areas along river banks) is one of the initiatives being taken to improve conditions for the mussel and its host species, brown trout and salmon. The Spey and the Dee are two of the rivers.

NEMT contacted SNH to find out more as extensive fencing to protect young trees would be visually intrusive in certain areas. The work on the Spey is around Boat of Garten only. Whilst decisions about locations have yet to be finalised, there will be planting on the banks of the Dee west of Braemar and some of its tributaries such as the Geldie Burn. SNH hopes that deer reduction may mean that fencing is unnecessary in some areas. Some fencing will be needed but in places this may be of low type design.

The improvement of the river habitats is highly desirable and, in time, reforestation will be of significant visual benefit. We have asked SNH to keep us advised of plans as we hope that any visual intrusion in more remote areas can be kept to a minimum. At the bottom of much of this is the on-going problem of there being too many deer and the implications of this for biodiversity.

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