The Lower River Spey, located in north east Scotland,
is unique within Britain in comprising an extensively
braided channel right down to the river mouth.
The active river channel provides a mosaic of
substrates, and in more stable, damper situations,
large stands of floodplain woodland occur. The
area of this habitat within the Lower River Spey-Spey
Bay cSAC is estimated at 65 hectares. Other parts
of the site are important for other habitats,
including vegetated coastal shingle beyond the
reach of waves, a feature for which the cSAC is
river, scrub and woodland habitats support a diverse
breeding bird community; in particular the shingle islands
are important for common terns Sterna hirundo,
arctic terns S. paradisaea , common gulls Larus
canus and black headed gulls L. ridibundus.
Ospreys Pandion haliaetus use the site for foraging.
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Lower River Spey was not part of the original Project
bid but as a result of a predicted Project underspend,
a bid was submitted in March 2001 to continue with work
already been undertaken within the cSAC. The Culriach
Woods section of the floodplain woodland at this site
has been adversely affected by the planting of conifers
in the 1950s. Forest Enterprise had completed some conifer
removal prior to the start of the Project but since
this time there had been significant regrowth of exotic
broadleaved trees, principally sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus.
Other non-native shrubs and plants are also present.
On disturbed ground these exotics can rapidly displace
natural floodplain communities if native species are
not quickly established. The objectives for this site
therefore concentrate on assisting the regeneration
of native species, as follows:
- The removal of remaining brash to promote the regeneration
of floodplain woodland.
- The treatment of sycamore tree stumps where re-growth
is occurring with an appropriate herbicide.
- Planting native floodplain trees with appropriate
fencing to assist regeneration.
- Provision of interpretative boards and signs to
describe the ongoing work and its purpose to walkers
using the Speyside Way path adjacent to the restoration
Restoration work at Lower River Spey was undertaken
by Forest Enterprise staff. Initially, brash from previous
felling was gathered into heaps and then taken off site.
The next step involved the use of chainsaws to fell
sycamore. Treatment of the stumps was also carried out
by hand, with herbicide injected into the fresh stumps.
A mixture of native tree species was planted in the
areas where felling had taken place, and this was fenced
to prevent browsing of the young trees by deer. Given
that the River Spey is prone to flooding within this
site, it is important to work when weather conditions
allow and therefore a season's work had already been
completed before approval of the bid for this site was
given in October 2001. Thus, no claim for management
work was submitted as part of the Project costings.
As owners, Forest Enterprise will continue to undertake
sympathetic managment of this floodplain woodland area.
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- Installation of two interpretation panels adjacent
to the site on the long-distance Speyside Way footpath.
- Approximately 20 hectares of restored floodplain
woodland on the Lower River Spey candidate SAC (N.B.
This work was not funded by the LIFE Project)