River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and juven

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blackgold
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River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and juven

Post by blackgold »

Paddle the Awe last night, very low, usual summer release levels no more, do not count on it as a fall back river during summer dry spells
http://forargyll.com/2012/05/river-awes ... h-numbers/

Andy H
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by Andy H »

We went on there for the first big realease at the start of May, but they only released 1 gate which was only a little more than Compensation flow. Having spoke to a local he said the Loch is well down this year and they are saving the water.

The story now confirms this.

Andy
The true challenge is allways within oneself

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

There are many variables to the level of loch Awe, there are two out flows, the river and the tunnel down to Inver Awe power station.
The catchment area is massive and the loch can fill up fast. Late spring the club paddled it when it was on low high, first stage of trying to lower the loch level. There may of been other releases but I am trying to stick to facts which I know. An advantage of keeping the river level down is more hydro electricity can be generated, that’s a fact. Saying the water is well down this year is a fact at certain time of the year, but not for all the year. Saving water, as I said this loch can fill up fast. I have my own opinion on what’s going on and I hope I am wrong and its being done purely for positive environmental reasons.

Kayakpilot
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by Kayakpilot »

Looks like we will need to paddle it in the Winter if we want to play on the Wave !

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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by Kayakpilot »

Just posted some pics on Oban Canoe Clubs' Facebook page which show what the flow is going to be like until later in the summer, at which time it gets cut right down again.

Iain.

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

I have put documentation up here, if anyone has a better and easier way to share please let me know, anyone more than welcome to contribute or take over it http://www.facebook.com/groups/239645552807387/

Kayakpilot
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by Kayakpilot »

Just sent an email to SEPA.
I would be interested to know what response the SCA gave them regarding these changes to the river levels.
I believe they were consulted.

Iain

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

copy of email from SEPA, any feedback please
"I refer to your recent enquiries by e-mail and via SEPA’s Facebook pages, regarding changes to the River Awe compensation flow regime.

These have been referred to me as the local Unit Manager for response, and I hope you will forgive the length of this e-mail but I feel your valid concerns warrant a detailed explanation.

I am aware that you have already been in communication with Mike Montague in our Lochgilphead office and I note in an earlier e-mail to Mike, you refer to a document, "The Future for Scotland's Waters May 2002". This document was produced in the early stages of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and since then has been superseded by a considerable volume of work and other publications produced on the subject. However, you are correct in assuming that the Directive requires SEPA to consider the social, economic and environmental impacts of its regulatory decisions.

I also understand that Mike has sent you the varied Water Use Licence (CAR/L/1011462) together with a short paper about the River Awe flow changes, which was produced by SEPA’s water resource Specialist officer for our area, Richard Fyfe. Richard has been instrumental in negotiating the recent changes and his paper shows the historic flow regime in the Awe and the new flows which have been implemented from 1 April 2012.

The background to this current change is that the flow regime on the Awe, like some other hydro controlled rivers, was in the unusual and unnatural situation where the summer compensation flows greatly exceeded the winter flows. In recent years the Argyll Fisheries Trust had expressed concerns to SEPA regarding a recurring seasonal event in which significant numbers of smolts migrating downstream were unable to pass the Awe barrage. This effectively ‘trapped’ them on the upstream side and increased the risk of them being predated. When considering this issue it quickly became apparent to SEPA that it made more sense to consider the flow profile at the Awe barrage throughout the year rather than just considering one single aspect.

On behalf of SEPA, Richard, assisted by officers from my own team and driven very much by our duties under the terms of the Water Framework Directive, facilitated stakeholder discussions to explore whether compensation flows from the barrage could be managed better for the benefit of the system’s migratory fish population and the general ecology of the river. SEPA has taken a lead in this process over a period of nearly two years and the outcome of these discussions is the new flow profile which you have seen in Richard’s paper and which has been implemented by way of the varied Water Use Licence.

These stakeholder discussions leading up to this involved SEPA and the operator of the hydro scheme (Scottish and Southern Energy), together with the Argyll Fisheries Trust, Argyll District Salmon Fishery Board and the local riparian landowners. As part of this process we also informally consulted the Scottish Canoe Association as representing kayaking interests and were reassured that they were content with the proposal.

It is unfortunate however and much to our regret, that during this process SEPA was not made aware of the now apparent extent of non-angling usage of the River Awe. In addition to your own individual concerns, you will be aware that we have been contacted recently by local commercial rafting, kayaking and water safety training users.

It was certainly not SEPA’s intention to exclude any other river user or limit our consultation in any way and whilst I acknowledge your point about the digital age of social media, our regulatory officers do not have access to Facebook, Twitter or other such media services during the course of their normal business. Rather, our legislation provides for third-party consultation by way of Public Notice advertisements where required. In this instance however, it was my view at the time and based on the information that had been made available to us, that we had consulted with representatives of all the major parties involved and the decision was taken that such advertising was not required.

However and with hindsight, by assuming that the Scottish Canoe Association was a fully representative party I concede that we did not consult with the recreational user community as widely as perhaps we could have and for that I would offer you my apologies. To address this, I would also like to assure you that now that we are better informed, we are keen to engage with relevant organisations and individual water users like you, to ensure that we have as wide a range of views as possible before making any future changes.

At present we are exploring how we might take this matter forward and Richard will again take a lead role in this. As part of our commitment to reviewing the impacts and success of this new flow regime, we will ensure that we invite representatives of the watersports and recreational users who were not previously consulted to any further stakeholder meetings, to ensure their views are taken on board. We believe that this will provide an opportunity to bring these interests into the negotiation process and may prove to be of benefit to all parties, helping to reduce any potential conflict between river users.



The position we are now in is the result of two years of negotiation and of a significant commitment to technical operational changes on the part of Scottish and Southern Energy. As you may appreciate therefore, any renegotiation of a new flow profile, taking account of all relevant views, will take some time and is therefore unlikely to happen this summer. Recent press articles relating to the new flow profile acknowledged that whilst the changes would have an impact, ultimately they are for the benefit of fish migration and the general ecology of the River Awe. Whilst I appreciate that this may not address your immediate concerns about lowered flows this summer, I would hope that by extending the engagement process as I have indicated above we can work constructively and collectively to seek an optimum solution for all parties in future years.



I hope this helps to explain the background to the current situation, but I would be more than happy to discuss this further with you, so please feel free to contact me directly on either of the numbers given below.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Frame

Jim Frame, Unit Manager
SEPA West Highland & Argyll

2 Smithy Lane, Lochgilphead, Argyll PA31 8TA Tel: 01546 602876; fax: 01546 602337
Carr's Corner, Lochybridge, Fort William, Inverness-shire PH33 6TL Tel: 01397 704426; fax: 01397 705404 "


Scots_Charles_River
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

At least they have engaged and have committed to future engagement.

So is there a salmon run/ladder ?

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

Scots_Charles_River wrote:So is there a salmon run/ladder ?
I might be wrong, but there might be a mechanical lift named after the inventor.
One of the key objectives is to stop the massive flow rates when all the gates are open due to rain fall. I do not know how they are going to manage this factor out.
"This initiative will only be successful if in the future SSE modify their spillage policy – by not holding back water and then letting down extreme floods which wash out the redds"( http://www.fishingmagic.com/news_events ... gling.html )

Scots_Charles_River
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

So why don't they let out a minimum flow, tweaking before rainfall and still allow 'natural floods' when the river would normally flood for salmon runs/redds.

Good work pushing for us paddlers so far, thanks.

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

Scots_Charles_River wrote:So why don't they let out a minimum flow, tweaking before rainfall and still allow 'natural floods' when the river would normally flood for salmon runs/redds.
I have put in a freedom of information request to get access to the data.
My understanding is they want to mange the levels to get the optimum levels for "fish production", this is a gate way river to many other rivers. The catchment area is incredible and when it rains heavily there is a big volume wanting to go through a small gap.
Also when you put SEPA in the content it will be monitored by SEPA
"SEPA communications team has also begun to monitor social media conversations."

Eddie Palmer
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by Eddie Palmer »

Can I just make it quite clear that there was NO consultation (i.e. to SCA staff, or to myself) before the announcement in late February of river releases this year. This information was then posted on the sCA website within 24 hours.
We were also not expecting any - recreational users are not statutory consultees of SEPA's, and at present, we have no power or say in river releases. In the past, before SEPA centralised the organisation of releases, there was more local activity, (before my time here), but the centralisation was to try and ensure a fairer share of water.The situation has got better over the past few years, moving from no information at all to earlier notification.
SCA members will be aware that we (Access Committee) have now commenced a consultation on need for releases to try and make the situation for 2012 better (see website).
I gather that Scotland has in general been hit by far less rainfall than expected, so there will be less water all this summer

Eddie Palmer

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

Many people give up their leisure time to help others, and I personally have made many errors. Something has gone wrong here and willingness on all sides to get the optimum solution for all is the way forward. My belief in this digital age is the sharing of information is the way forward and Mark and his team has given us the platform to do this.
This quote is from SEPA Corporate Plan 2012 to 2017
http://www.sepa.org.uk/about_us/publica ... version=-1
"A good environment also provides a variety of opportunities for recreation, vital to our
physical and mental health and well-being; including hill-walking, mountaineering,
cycling, sailing, kayaking, scuba diving, surfing and access to urban greenspace."
From SEPA front line troops right up to James Curran, SEPA Chief Executive they have chosen to ignore physical and mental health and well-being element of their remit on this ocasion.
At the end of the day its for individuals to hold their government to account, and SEPA as a government body should recognise this and facilitate this.
A direct quote from James Curran, SEPA Chief Executive on the River Awe flow regime "It is hoped that this collaborative approach will serve as an example for other such projects in the future."
http://www.facebook.com/groups/23964555 ... 592124683/
All dam releases are going to change, hopefully this time with proper and meaningful consultation.

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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by swagstaff »

Blackgold I have been emailing Richard Fyfe at SEPA every year to try and discuss River Awe flows and have been fobbed off with a" be patient we are looking at it" attitude. Similarly the SCA has failed to put pressure on SEPA to talk about Awe flows and indeed flows on other rivers other than the Garry and Morriston or indeed encouraged its members who use the Awe to do so. For a long while a lot of energy went into fighting the case on the Braan at which they obviously did a great job. However the SCA needs to allow and encourage others to liase with SEPA on rivers local to them. This would reduce the workload of the SCA volunteers however some of these volunteers seem reluctant to allow others to take on these responsibilities.
WHITEWATER ALL YEAR LONG

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

The minimum I expect from SEPA is for a date in the very near future for an inclusive meeting to be held to move this issue forward. In this digital age I can see no reason not to actively invite everyone to participate. When the date is set I will share the information. At the moment I believe James Curran, SEPA Chief Executive is open for criticism on the handling of this issue, this may spread to the Scottish Ministers and the rest of the membership of the SEPA Board.

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

Scots_Charles_River wrote:At least they have engaged and have committed to future engagement.

So is there a salmon run/ladder ?
http://forargyll.info/2008/06/the-fish- ... river-awe/
"The Fish Lift at the barrage on the River Awe
Posted on June 10, 2008 by newsroom

The River Awe used to be famous for the size and numbers of the salmon running the river. Since the Hydro dam was built and a not-very-effective fish lift was installed instead of the more expensive salmon ladder, the very large fish have virtually disappeared. The nature of the lift means that all fish entering the lift are carried up to the Loch, where with the ladder, only the salmon have the strength to make it up there. The disappearance of the large fish may be due to a number of factors together threatening the viability of the wild Atlantic salmon. These include drift netting, coastal netting, hill drainage, water abstraction, water pollution and factory food products turning fish into pellets to feed farmed fish. The natural rise and fall of water levels on Loch Awe is now controlled by intervention by the Hydro board."

More reasons why the fish numbers are down, not only due to water levels

Scots_Charles_River
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

Maybe modelling the successful Doon flow rate campaign, all users had a joined up campaign, maybe the way forward.

I'm no expert but fitting a slalom ladder and allowing constant pour over there would improve salmon access to the loch and on turn the upper rivers eg orchy amd lochs above.

Maybe emailing local businesses, local angling clubs, riparian owners, commercial users etc could maybe strike a common cause, well before any S**A meeting.

Good luck.

crb90
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by crb90 »

Has anyone paddled this recently (ie in the last two weeks)?
What was the level like?

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

Eddie Palmer wrote:Can I just make it quite clear that there was NO consultation (i.e. to SCA staff, or to myself) before the announcement in late February of river releases this year. This information was then posted on the sCA website within 24 hours.
We were also not expecting any - recreational users are not statutory consultees of SEPA's, and at present, we have no power or say in river releases. In the past, before SEPA centralised the organisation of releases, there was more local activity, (before my time here), but the centralisation was to try and ensure a fairer share of water.The situation has got better over the past few years, moving from no information at all to earlier notification.
SCA members will be aware that we (Access Committee) have now commenced a consultation on need for releases to try and make the situation for 2012 better (see website).
I gather that Scotland has in general been hit by far less rainfall than expected, so there will be less water all this summer

Eddie Palmer
Under the FOI http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w ... ing-288585
SEPA is stating that SCA were consulted as representing the kayakers interest.
Is SEPA giving out false information.

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

Just received an email from SEPA with the latest up date on FOI request
http://www.facebook.com/groups/23964555 ... 124499363/
Need to wait till the 2nd of July 2012 to find out what information they may release.
SEPA next board meeting is Tuesday 26th June 2012, this is a Private Board meeting.

Info below for reference

"Dear Mr *********

Thank you for your email. I have forwarded it to the Clerk to the Agency Board and have asked her to circulate your email to the remainder of the Board members named below.

Yours sincerely

Alison Mackinnon
Information Manager



-----Original Message-----
From: john (**************)
Sent: Thu, 21 Jun 2012 23:40:12
To: ComplaintsAdministrator@sepa.org.uk
Subject: "pity about the arrogant way SEPA has dealt with it" Please pass onto all board members

Please pass onto all board members and could you please confirm that all board members have received this email.
David.Sigsworth@sepa.org.uk accepted
James.Curran@sepa.org.uk accepted
Fred.Dinning@sepa.org.uk bounced
Richard.Dixon@sepa.org.uk bounced
Ian.Doig@sepa.org.uk bounced
Bob.Downes@sepa.org.uk bounced
Alison.Hay@sepa.org.uk bounced
Bill.McKelvey@sepa.org.uk bounced
Keith.Nicholson@sepa.org.uk bounced
Lesley.Sawers@sepa.org.uk bounced
Helen.Zealley@sepa.org.uk bounced

River Awe flow regime 2012

From your Corporate Plan 2012-2017 "A good environment also provides a
variety of opportunities for recreation, vital to our physical and
mental health and well-being; including hill-walking, mountaineering,
cycling, sailing, kayaking, scuba diving, surfing and access to urban
greenspace." As the River Awe level is artificially managed, this is an
opportunity to fulfill some of the above aspiration, giving people a
valuable resource which they can use at all times, to match their
leisure time. A balance of social, economic and environment needs can be
achieved here. In my opinion there has been a massive break down in the
vision and a mono culture of views and action has lead to this
management plan.

This is a quote from a independent person who I disagree with on many
fundamental issues but I respect his judgement on scientific knowledge
on salmon
"its great for the salmon John, pity about the arrogant way SEPA has
dealt with it"
This is SEPAs view:
"It is hoped that this collaborative approach will serve as an
example for other such projects in the future."

In my opinion you have a problem, you have two options sort it or
continue to ignore it.

Extract from Agency Board Meeting, 29 May 2012, Board Report Number:
SEPA 18/12

2.1 River Awe flow regime
The River Awe in Argyll has been affected by a hydro scheme for over 50
years. During this period the flow regime, compensation flows and
release of freshets3 had been agreed between the operator, Scottish &
Southern Energy (SSE), and riparian owners. In 2010, concerns were
raised about the availability of sufficient flows to allow downstream
passage of smolts. SEPA agreed to chair an informal working group madeup
of representatives from SSE, Argyll District Salmon Fisheries Board,
Argyll Fisheries Trust and local proprietors, to examine the current
flow regime and identify an improved flow pattern. The key criterion set
out by SEPA was that any changes should be based on the best evidence
available. Consequently, the Argyll Fisheries Trust, with help from SSE,
collected evidence of spawning patterns in the river, which was
correlated with flow data from SSE. Following extensive negotiations, an
agreement was reached on a new flow regime to operate from 1 April. A
monitoring programme will evaluate the effectiveness of the new regime
and allow further evidence-based changes in subsequent years. It is
hoped that this collaborative approach will serve as an example for
other such projects in the future."

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

All dam release are going to change in Scotland, "In 2006 SSE offered to adjust comp flows at over 30 sites to improve
ecology To date no changes have been implemented – why?"
http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j& ... ug&cad=rja

SSE are ahead of SEPA , they are building up a case for more hydro power stations within even tighter environmental regulations.
If the new River Awe Flow Scheme is a template, then there is a strong possibility that many rivers levels will no longer be navigable. Kept at a optimum level for hydro and salmon. Below is a link to the rivers to be changed
http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j& ... xA&cad=rja

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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

blackgold wrote:All dam release are going to change in Scotland, "In 2006 SSE offered to adjust comp flows at over 30 sites to improve
ecology To date no changes have been implemented – why?"
Good work with all this research, can you email it on to the SCA FAO the Access Committee ?

Cheers

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

Just an update, gone to a stage two complaint, on advice given I have gone on a narrow and specific complaint, "why the primary stakeholders were not consulted". In previous change of regime flows the public were consulted. This question would only be answered by taking this action. It is accepted practice that the public are informed when an industrial process has an impact on the environment. Is there a case that with a lower level on the River Awe, the excess water is used to generate electricity which is an industrial process.

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

Up date 21st January 2013 copied and pasted from email today.
"Regarding the Awe flows this year, we are currently reviewing the licence as we discussed with you and the others in Oban last year, and we are looking again at how flows are delivered downstream of the Barrage.

Our aims remain the same as they did when the present flow regime was put in place last summer, but following our meeting in Oban we are considering whether any further flow changes can be introduced to address the concerns raised by recreational users whilst protecting the flows intended for the benefit of the system's migratory fish population and the general ecology of the river.

Sometime within the next few weeks and as we promised in Oban, we will be advertising the review to provide an opportunity for all interested parties to make comments/representation. The adverts, which will include details on how to submit a representation, will appear in the Oban Times and Edinburgh Gazette, and will also be posted on SEPA's website. I will also make sure that those of you who were at the meeting in Oban (provided we have e-mail addresses) are notified when the adverts go out.

We will progress this review as quickly as we can but it is unlikely that we'll be in a position to confirm a new flow regime until the statutory review process is completed and this may take us into April/May. "

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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

Thanks for keeping us up to date.

Are the SCA Access Committee on board ?

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blackgold
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by blackgold »

Scots_Charles_River wrote:Thanks for keeping us up to date.

Are the SCA Access Committee on board ?
I am not a member of the SCA, but they know about the situation, I will keep on saying this, what happens on the Awe will happen on all the other dam release rivers in Scotland. The positive note is I am sure the SEPA Board members do NOT want a public fight with the kayakers and I would like to think no kayaking organisation will make a deal behind closed doors. On a really positive note, the meeting in Oban was attended by people who actually use the river and that voice should not be lost to a committee based organisation.

Scots_Charles_River
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Re: River Awe’s flows revised to improve fish spawning and j

Post by Scots_Charles_River »

There has been a lot of changes to the SCA recently so I'm sure Recreational WW is a priority.

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