Surveys & Monitoring
Electrofishing surveys are carried out by RAT using SFCC methodology. These surveys help to identify issues surrounding fish populations caused by such as habitat degradation, diffuse and point-source pollution and barriers to fish migration. This technique is widely used in fisheries management and science. The main use of electrofishing on the Annan is to target juvenile salmonids but the surveys also detect the presence of other fish species. There is also a technique used that is specific to juvenile lampreys.
Habitat surveys (SFCC and occasional Henry & Cragg-Hine walkover methodology) can help to identify such as habitat degradation, potential barriers to fish migration and pollution points. For example, in 2010 RAT undertook a walkover survey of the Lochar Water. The purpose of this was to gain some insight into the general condition of the watercourse before attempting to undertake any management activities. The information from this report will now be be helpful in prioritising any restoration projects on the Lochar catchment.
Barriers to Fish Migration
The Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research ha devised a new method assessing barriers to fish migration. Opinion seems to be divided on the value of this methodology. RAT has carried out a number of these surveys on obstacles on the Annan and are of the opinion that new information was recorded for many of the assessments. Th results produced may also add to any existing electrofishing data when providing tangible evidence to support the removal or alteration of any barriers.
River Invertebrate Surveys
RAT staff members and volunteers are trained in the Riverfly Partnership methodology of invertebrate monitoring. This inititiave is a relatively simple method of identification of key taxon (e.g. mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies) to ensure that water quality is checked widely alongside monitoring undertaken by SEPA. These surveys have been pivotal in identifying/verifying various pollution incidents within the Annan catchment.