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The effect of natural flood management in-stream wood placements on fish movement in Scotland

Wood placement flooded; Cover photograph courtesy of: The James Hutton Institute

This report provides a review and analysis of information on the passage by fish at wooden obstacles (woody placements), used for flood management, in Scotland. The report covers a series of placement types ranging from those permanently in the wetted stream channel, to those placed on side-bars which are wetted for a low proportion of the year.  With an absence of ground tested data, theoretical information from river-barrier assessment tools combined with the output from an expert panel, provide guidelines for good practice for the use of flood management woody placements in small streams, which minimise the impact on fish passage.

1st June 2014

Scotland Rural Development programme 2014-20 - recommendations for targeting support to deliver maximum benefit for the water environment

The Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) supports Scottish objectives that match the priorities of the European Union Rural Development Programme. A key requirement in the 2014 - 20 SRDP is to address the EU 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme priorities for (i) restoring and preserving biodiversity, (ii) improving water and soil management, and (iii) reducing green-house gas emissions, through agri-environment payments. In this context, CREW have been asked to develop recommendations for the spatial targeting of agri-environment options in the 2014-20 SRDP. The aim is to ensure cost-effective delivery of benefits for the water environment and to help Scotland meet the objectives of the Water Framework Directive  and the Floods Directive.

1st March 2016

Developing a methodology for screening and identifying potential sources of bacteria to improve bathing, shellfish and drinking water quality

Although the quality of water in Scotland is generally very good, bacteria can pose a risk to human health via shellfish, bathing and drinking water quality issues. Faecal indicator organisms are of primary concern, since they are the key microbial water quality compliance parameters – specifically, Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci under the revised Bathing Waters Directive and Shellfish Waters Directive. These bacteria, which are generally non-pathogenic, are excreted by all warm-blooded animals and their presence indicates an environmental pathway contaminated with faecal waste which may be contributed to by a pathogen carrier(s).

The aim of this work is to design an effective faecal indicator organism screening methodology for Scotland that could be developed quickly and at a reasonable cost, that will enable, within acceptable limits:

  1. Prediction of current faecal indicator organism loadings (ideally concentration & flow) being delivered to specific receptor waters under different flow conditions and in different seasons  
  2. Source apportionment of overall FIO loadings to sources within catchments
  3. Estimation of ‘zone of influence’ of individual sources within catchments
  4. Estimation of impacts of interventions to reduce fluxes from sewerage- and/or agricultural-related sources.
14th October 2016

Pharmaceuticals in the Water Environment, 4-7th Sept. 2017

Prague, Czech Republic, 4-7 September 2017.

This conference focuses on the comprehensive issue of occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the water environment. This is done by considering the entire pathway of pharmaceuticals from their source (human use of medicins, etc.) as sewage water to waste water treatment plants releasing their effluent to surface waters and groundwater, this water being used as source for drinking water production, ending up with drinking water that may contain pharmaceutical residues. The effect of pharmaceuticals on ecosystems is also considered.

For more information see the conference website.

1st July 2016

A review of techniques for the monitoring of fine sediments: discussion document to inform workshop

iMAGE OF FRESHWATER MUSSEL; Cover photograph courtesy of: Susan Cooksley, James Hutton Institute

Fine sediments (particles <2mm) in rivers and streams generally result from land management activities such as forestry, agriculture or development. Their ecological effects can be highly damaging (Owenes et al., 2005). In suspension, fine particles interfere with biological processes (e.g. reduced sunlight penetration impairs plant growth) and behaviours (e.g. restricting the ability to find prey). When deposited, fine sediments can smother the riverbed and restrict the infiltration of oxygen-rich free-flowing water. They also introduce organic matter and nutrients, which can increase biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and promote eutrophication. Once present in a river system, fine sediments have the potential to cause a long-term cycle of environmental damage due to repeated mobilisation and resettlement.

Fine sediment is thought to be one of the principal pressures affecting the Freshwater pearl mussel (FPM) in Scotland - detrimental effects include prevention of feeding, damage to gills/feeding structures, and degradation of inter-gravel habitat (CEN, 2016). However, as there is no agreed method for monitoring and regulating fine sediment in UK rivers, it is difficult to assess the extent of problems that may be affecting FPM sites and to target remedial measures effectively. Therefore, there is a desire to establish a monitoring programme in Scotland.

26th September 2016

Alliance for Water Stewardship Global Water Stewardship Forum 1st-2nd November 2016

The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), with support from the Scottish Government and GIZ’s International Water Stewardship Program (IWaSP), will host the first Global Water Stewardship Forum at the ECCI in Edinburgh on 1st and 2nd November, 2016.  The Forum will provide insights from leading water stewardship practitioners, lessons from case studies in industry and agriculture and promote sharing knowledge to advance water stewardship.  To find out more, please visit the Forum webpage.

1st April 2016

River restoration and biodiversity

Cover image: The River Leith in Cumbria, England. Part of the River Leith near Penrith was restored in 2014  to its natural meandering course for the benefit of plants, animals and people (© Linda Pitkin/2020VISION).

The river environments of the UK and Ireland are special for their biodiversity and also the beneficial services they provide to humans.  However after centuries of damage inflicted on them, our rivers have changed greatly and continue to be threatened.  This means that effective river restoration alongside conservation is needed to bring back characteristic river habitat and wildlife.

This report describes the importance of rivers in the UK and Ireland for nature conservation, summarises the damage that river habitats have sustained over many decades, and discusses ways in which repairing damage and restoring river habitats can bring benefits both to wildlife and to human society.

The report was written by staff from the James Hutton Institute and represents a collaboration between a range of organisations in the UK and Ireland: Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Environment Agency (England), Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Rivers Agency (Northern Ireland), Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Loughs Agency (NI), Office of Public Works (Republic of Ireland), Inland Fisheries Ireland, and the River Restoration Centre.


Valuing your soils

"Valuing Your Soils", is newly published guidance, which will help Scottish farmers, crofters and land mangers protect and improve their most valuable resources.

This guidance includes useful information about Scotland's agricultural soils and practical advice outlining the upfront financial savings and business benefits of better soil management and the efficient use of resources. Action and problem-specific 'field-sheets' are designed for busy farmers with limited time for reading. The appendix contains more detailed technical information and research case studies highlighting evidence from current investigations of Scottish farm soils.

16th September 2016

Hydro Nation Scholars Programme

In Autumn 2016, we welcome a further five scholars to the growing Hydro Nation Scholars Programme. The Hydro Nation staff team and current scholars look forward to welcoming them to the programme at a welcome event in November 2016 and supporting them in the commencement of their PhD studies. For full details of the Hydro Nation Scholars Programme, recent scholar outputs and news updates, please visit the Hydro Nation scholars website.

16th September 2016

The Hydro Nation Summit 2016, September 26th-27th

Edinburgh, September 26th-27th

Representatives from CREW and the Hydro Nation Scholars Programme will be attending Day two of the Hydro Nations Summit 2016.  The Hydro Nations Summit is being organised by Power of Youth in partnership with Scottish Government and Scottish Development International. This event is a two day residential programme being held in Edinburgh to develop a platform to build, collate and scale water and waste water technologies in order to facilitate Scottish companies addressing some the most challenging issues in the water sector globally. There are two elements – a general leadership and entrepreneurial development aspect and a country focus – India. This summit will then be followed up with a second summit being held in India in early 2017. 


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