Over the last few years, Trust staff have carried out redd monitoring within the Forth, Teith and Allan Water to identify how many redds are being produced by salmon in each catchment. Most of this work has been carried out by Trust staff with a number of key monitoring sites to collect baseline data to help monitor salmon within each catchment and this year we engaged with a range of volunteers to support this monitoring work. During November and December 2017 the Trust and volunteers managed to survey 32km of river mainly in the Teith and Allan Water catchments monitoring redd numbers, up from 22km in 2016. It is most likely that we could of surveyed more this year but this was hampered by high water levels. A massive thanks goes out to all of the volunteers who supported this work with a special thanks to Martin McKenna and Tom McKenzie from the Allan Water Angling Improvement Association for covering a considerable stretch of the Allan Water.
At the moment, we are still processing all of the data but we can already say that it looks like there has been no significant drop in redd numbers compared to previous years. Initial findings have shown that more fish reached the top of the catchment than in 2016 which is thought to be due to the high water levels in late summer and autumn. This year redds were well spread out with more redds recorded in the upper catchment than in previous years and slightly less in the main stem but it should be noted that number of redds across the catchment remained consistent with previous years.
This year the Trust used some new technology to monitor redds in the form of a drone. A drone is a great way to monitor environmental aspects where a birds eye view can provide a better vantage point. The drone was deployed to collect aerial photos of survey sites and this data was then added to our mapping software where we could accurately map out the location and size of redds. It is planned that we will do this in future years to build up a picture of spawning locations within the monitored catchments so that in theory maps of redds can be created to indicate regions of nursery areas and monitor each year the number of spawners returning to these sites. This information can then be combined with electrofishing data and fry densities to continue monitoring salmon populations.
As well as the drone, the Trust launched its new and improved redd reporting application allowing members of the public to report redd sightings to us to help continue to build a picture of where salmon are spawning.
If you would like to get involved during the 2018 redd survey season please email us on email@example.com and we will add you to our volunteer list. You can also keep an eye out on opportunities as they will be posted on our social media outlets.