The exams are all finished now, so what better than a field visit to revisit some of the key themes of the semester just passed? More so when there’s the offer of a guided tour from Scottish & Southern Energy’s biologist Dr Alasdair Stephen, and a shining yellow thing in the sky all day long!
The focus for our day was the River Garry, which has been dry for most of the past 60 years thanks to a diversion of the upper river to supply water to Loch Errochty, for renewable power generation at Errochty Power station. SSE concluded an agreement with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Tay District Salmon Fishery Board to allow the new provision of environmental flows, commencing in autumn 2017. We spent some time in class talking about in-stream habitat and ecosystems: the role of water depths, velocities and wetted perimeter. The works allow SSE to put the demands of the Water Framework Directive into practice.
But the trip soon revealed that a lot more was required than ‘just’ hydraulic and ecological modelling. Our discussion turned to questions of scientific evidence, stakeholder benefits, partnership working, people as much as policy, and balancing acts – how best to protect the local freshwater environment without causing unnecessary losses of generation water?
A few photos here give a flavour of the day. Many thanks, Alasdair, for sharing your knowledge, many experiences and insights.
Read more about the Garry re-watering here from: