The ‘Pearls in Peril’ EU LIFE project have been granted permission by landowners, SEPA and the Cairngorms National Park to carry out river bank restoration works in Glen Doll and Glen Clova next year. In May 2015 13 sections of boulder bank protection – a total of 873 m – will be removed and the banks reprofiled on the White Water and River South Esk. These works will restore natural flow and erosion processes. The bank material is sand, gravel and cobble with little fine sediment, which when eroded into the river will help sustain the in-stream habitat for freshwater pearl mussels and salmonids. The proposals also include the reconnection of three old channels which have previously been in filled, providing additional habitat and reducing energy in the main channel.
During preparatory surveys PIP staff also found evidence of water voles – the first record of water voles for these sites. Bank restoration work will benefit these rare mammals by increasing and improving habitat.