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Saving salmon in Scotland’s rivers

Ecosystems and communities in and around the River Findhorn in the Scottish Highlands have welcomed funding from LNER’s Customer and Community Investment Fund, which is helping to restore the natural habitat and protect salmon.


The Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Rivers Trust looks after all three rivers. Experts monitoring the Findhorn have seen salmon numbers decline in recent times and they believe rising water temperatures may be a factor due to climate change.


Through its flagship project the ‘Findhorn Watershed Initiative’, the trust is developing more native woodland along the riverbanks to help shade the water during the summertime in the hope it lowers the temperatures. With funding from LNER, the team has put in place a range of monitoring systems to gather ecological data. It has carried out fish and invertebrate surveys and installed river temperature loggers, providing information so progress and improvements can be monitored. 


The team has also been working with the local community, training volunteers to help protect the river for future generations. Building upon the understanding that nature recovery is as much about people’s connection with nature as it is about hands-on restoration work, the Findhorn Watershed Initiative’s community engagement programme brought local people of all ages together to connect to and learn about the river, its cultural heritage, wildlife, and landscapes.


As part of the project, the team explored the lost nature related Gaelic placenames, songs and stories, providing a glimpse into the flora and fauna once more prevalent along the river, how its ecosystems have changed over time, and how they might best be restored in the future.  


Bob Laughton, director at the Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Rivers Trust, said: ‘LNER’s support over the past 12 months has been invaluable. During that time, we have developed an important body of ecological and cultural baseline data and information which will help us target our work with the Findhorn Watershed Initiative to maximise positive impact for the landscapes, wildlife and communities of the upper River Findhorn catchment area into the future.’  Rachael Wilson, community investment manager at LNER, said: ‘As a long distance rail operator, we continue to play our part in creating a greener future and we are delighted to be supporting the Findhorn, Nairn, and Lossie Rivers Trust in its work to protect the Findhorn for generations to come. The project not only inspires people in the local community to come together but also to connect with nature and the area’s heritage, all in addition to the benefits for the environment and wildlife.’


Pictures courtesy: LNER.


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