In this blog, we highlight recent Wild Park work which has been carried out by the Lochgoilhead community and our partners Argyll Fisheries Trust to help conserve the River Goil and support one of Scotland’s most iconic fish species.
Known and loved for their impressive leaping, the Atlantic salmon is an icon of Scottish natural heritage. As juveniles they live in fresh water before migrating out to sea in search of their oceanic feeding grounds. As adults they then return to the rivers in which they grow up to spawn and begin the next generation.
As epic as these journeys are, there are a number of risks that the salmon population face at these spawning grounds, from water quality and flow rate to barriers and food supply. Supporting species like Atlantic salmon is just one reason why the National Park Authority is working hard with volunteers, land owners, communities and partners through our Wild Park programme for action to help conserve and enhance riparian (river) habitats in the National Park.
One such example is a recent project delivered along the banks of the River Goil.
The River Goil flows into one of the main sea lochs in the Firth of Clyde, making it an important spawning ground for Atlantic salmon. However, over time, the river has suffered badly from bank collapse and erosion. This erosion then leads to an increase in silt levels in the river ecosystem which can damage precious spawning sites.
Thanks to funding from our partner CLIF, a stretch of ‘green revetment’ has been installed to help stabilise the river bank, enhancing the water quality of the river and thereby improving important spawning grounds for Atlantic salmon.
A green revetment is a nature based solution to protect a river bank and future-proof the river environment by forming a sloping structure on the bank. The installation of the green revetment at the River Goil involved rebuilding and reprofiling sections of collapsed bank with a digger. In future, the community plans to source trees to plant on the bank to help absorb the energy of incoming water.
The green revetment should help to reduce erosion of the river bank, leading to rejuvenation of the river bed so that it creates ideal conditions for salmon spawning.
It will also create a more diverse environment which benefits a wide range of other species.
Along with the green revetment, fencing was erected to help protect the river bank from the effects of livestock. Plans are underway to plant trees along the river bank to provide shade, which is an important step in helping to protect the river against the impacts of climate change.
Further funding from CLIF through the National Parks Protectors programme will see more work like this continue along the River Goil to protect riverbanks, water quality and the spawning grounds for important fish species.
A big thank you goes to all those who donated over 400 hours of their time to the project, through rain, hail, snow and finally sunshine during a global pandemic!