It is undoubtedly the case that we are starting to see significant changes in our climate. With forecasts of changes in rainfall, flow patterns and increasing water temperatures, it is important to try and forecast their potential impacts on fish and their environments so that any steps to mitigate these changes can be identified.
Since 2016, the Tweed Foundation have been part of the Scottish River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN). The project, which is led by Marine Scotland Science (MSS), collects water temperature data from a large number of sites spread throughout several Scottish rivers, one of which is the Tweed.
There are 29 sites throughout the Tweed catchment which are selected based on characteristics that affect water temperature, such as altitude, tree cover and aspect. MSS use this information, alongside the temperature data, to generate predictions of water temperatures for the majority of water courses throughout Scotland.
Using the information fed back to us by MSS, we can determine where in the Tweed catchment rising water temperatures are most likely to be an issue for the Tweed’s cold-blooded salmonids. This enables us to target our efforts to reduce the impacts.
The most effective and practical method of doing so is through riparian tree planting. Planting trees along the banksides of rivers and burns has a cooling effect as the trees cast shade over the water course. We are working alongside land owners throughout the catchment to explore the possibilities of tree planting along the water courses where temperatures are predicted to increase the most in the coming years.
For more information on the Scottish River Temperature Monitoring Network, please visit the MSS site here.