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Restoring Annan's Water

RAW is an ambitious catchment scale programme that aims to restore habitats and natural processes to the River Annan and investigate the benefits they can bring to both people and wildlife. This will include a number of programmes:


  • Habitat restoration and creation

  • Natural flood management

  • Restoring natural river functions

  • Barrier removal/easement

  • Invasive Species Control

  • Community engagement & education

Habitat Restoration & Creation

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Over the centuries people have changed and manipulated parts of the river for agricultural production and land drainage. This has resulted in the loss of woodland and wetland habitats from the River Annan Catchment. Good riparian habitats and floodplain management is essential in the development of ecologically important instream habitats, reducing erosion and agricultural runoff and can even mitigate against the effects of climate change.

Fencing & Tree Planting

The impacts of over-grazing on riparian habitats are well documented resulting in the direct loss of bankside habitat while compromising the riparian zones ability to filter sediment and nutrient run-off. In the last decade or so around 70 kilometres of riparian fencing has been erected on the Annan by the fisheries board/trust. The erection of fencing to exclude livestock from riparian areas has been proven to have great benefits to river ecosystems. Benefits include reductions in bankside erosion and silt inputs and increased bankside vegetation which generally improves habitat and river morphology and reduces pollutants for fish and other aquatic and terrestrial organisms.

Eels in the classroom project

The River Annan Trust is delighted to announce the launch of its Eels in the Classroom Project as part of the two year Restoring Annan’s Water Community Engagement Programme.

This exciting educational project sees tanks of eels installed in four primary schools across Annandale and will engage children in the freshwater environment and raise awareness of the River Annan’s natural heritage, the ecosystems it supports and the challenges faced by the critically endangered European eel within their local river.

Eels undertake a mammoth transatlantic migration from the Sargasso Sea to the River Annan. The most significant challenge the elvers (6-10 cm eels in their juvenile stage) face on this journey is ascending Milnbe weir located just a few hundred meters above the tidal limit.

The weir inhibits the passage of the fish to the extent that in 2015, SEPA (Scottish Environment

The River Annan Trust is delighted to announce the launch of its Eels in the Classroom Project as part of the two year Restoring Annan’s Water Community Engagement Programme.

Protection Agency) downgraded the entire catchment upstream of the weir to poor ecological status on the basis of fish ecology.

The River Annan Trust secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and LEADER Dumfries and Galloway (part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2014-20) to run Restoring Annan’s Water Community Engagement Programme from November 2017 to November 2019. The ambitious programme aims to engage with the local community and is made up of 5 broad projects: Eels in the Classroom, Youth Rangers, Landowner Engagement, Public Workshops and Seminars, and Small-Scale Habitat Restoration.

Roy Richardson, Unit Manager for River Basin Planning Manager from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said:

 “Every day, SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment, in particular our natural rivers and waterways. The Eels in the Classroom project provides a fascinating insight into these illusive creatures and the important role they play in the biodiversity of Scotland’s water environment.

  “By unlocking historic habitats in the Annan catchment to fish migration, eels have the potential to improve the ecology of these rivers.”

Peter Dreghorn, Chairman of the Restoring Annan’s Water Catchment Management Partnership said:

 “Thanks to the endeavour of the River Annan Trust I am thrilled to see the launch of Eels in the Classroom project this week. It will be a powerful engagement and educational project that supports the wider objectives of the RAW programme in addressing the fish passage issues preventing the European eel readily accessing the river habitat.”

For more information on the project and to find out how to get involved visit , follow the River Annan Trust on Facebook, or email


The RAW Project, Fisheries Office, Annandale Estates,

St Ann's, Lockerbie, DG11 1HQ


Tel: 01576 470600

Latest News

The minutes of the latest RAW meeting are now availabe here.

Raw Project 2015

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