Dee Beat

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Driving towards Glenshee from Braemar, you can see some small enclosures (4 x 4 metres) planted along the banks of the River Clunie.

You can also see a substantial area of woodland planting on the Clunie at Newbigging, for which nine km of fencing has been installed.

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The young trees have recently been planted within these protected areas, all as part of an ambitious project to restore the upper Dee catchment.

The Pearls in Peril LIFE project is a UK-wide project running from 2012 until 2016. On the Dee ,it aims to create 70km of river bank planted with trees.

So far, trees have been planted on the banks of the Rivers Clunie and Gairn (north of Crathie) and 43 km of river bank have now been finalised for tree planting, with fences for these currently being installed and tree planting to be completed next year.

Planting trees along the riverbank is part of restoring the river corridor to how it once was.

This benefits the river by reducing bank erosion, alleviating flooding, providing habitat for wildlife and creating shading over the watercourse.

This shading will be important in the future as temperatures are predicted to rise due to climate change.

Data loggers have been installed to record water temperatures and will show how the shading provided as these trees grow will modify water temperatures and help mitigate the effects of climate change. In previous summers water temperatures of up to 27°C have been recorded.

This is dangerously high for our cold water-loving fish communities. Brown trout stop feeding at temperatures above 20 °C and water temperatures that stay constantly above 27°C are lethal.

With climate change expected to create a 4°C increase in temperature by 2080 there is serious concern about the impact on fish populations and other species.

Many thanks to Apache North Sea for financing ten further tree planting areas which will be created this year.

One small enclosure costs in the region of £250 to create; please get in touch with the River Office if you would like to leave a legacy on Deeside by helping further riverbank woodland creation (info@riverdee.org, 013398 80411).

Other habitat restoration work being done for the River as part of this project includes the installation of 45km of buffer strips to reduce diffuse pollution entering the watercourses.

Already 10km of buffer strips in the Tarland catchment have been completed by working in partnership with farmers and the MacRobert Trust.

Other tributaries that will have buffer strips installed are parts of the Dinnet and Dess Burns, as well as the Feugh.

This large - £2.4 million – project is being delivered in partnership with the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board, River Dee Trust, SNH, Forestry Commission Scotland, Dee Catchment Partnership, SEPA , Cairngorms National Park Authority, the Estates of Mar, Mar Lodge and Invercauld and the Estate workers and farming community.

All with vital financial support from the EU LIFE programme.