Restoring Annan 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
Invasive Species Control
Community engagement & education
Habitat Restoration & Creation
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.
Engagement & Education
Any initiative to deliver landscape scale restoration projects requires the active involvement of stakeholders and land managers/owners for it to be successful. The RAW project seeks to explore the levels of engagement and interest in the programme of works through awareness raising and surveys of stakeholders throughout the River Annan Catchment.
The extent and focus of engagement will be dependent on the nature and scale of the project. For example, where RAW activities are proposed close to urban areas then the local community will need to be engaged. Small scale projects away from settlements may only require engagement with a single landowner.
Education, engagement and awareness raising are an important aspect of developing understanding of the RAW objectives. The River Annan Trust has already undertaken a number of educational projects and RAW will build on these to deliver and participate in educational events around the catchment.
RAW hoped to encourage local communities and schools to take an interest in the River Annan Catchment learning about issues that impact upon both wildlife and people. RAW intends to educate local people and get them involved in citizen science to record data on river processes, aquatic wildlife and habitats, flooding and barriers around the catchment.