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Water flows & Salmonid Production

The Scottish freshwater environment is an important resource which requires careful management to ensure sustainable use and an equitable balance between potentially competing demands. In recent years the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) has been the primary mechanism for making such decisions. WFD requires that water bodies achieve good ecological status, or in cases where the waterbody has been substantially altered (Heavily modified Water Bodies – HMWB), Good Ecological Potential. In the latter case the ecological status should be the best possible given the use of the waterbody.

Impoundment for water supply or power generation can have a substantial influence on the environment generally and fish production in particular. Under WFD, there is a need to balance power generation, water supply and the potential impacts on ecology that are associated with these activities. In order that policy makers and regulators (SEPA) can make decisions about where this balance lies, there is need for an evidence base that describes the relationship between flow regime and fish production that allows maximum use of the freshwater resource, while at the same time minimising ecological impacts. This project aims to provide this evidence base, developing habitat models to predict the effects of changing flow regime on fish production.