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Project Title – Delliefure Burn

    Situated on the north side of the Spey, about four miles downstream from Grantown-on-Spey, the Delliefure Burn is a small tributary that had seen significant degradation due to historical agricultural practices including straightening the burn and adding embankements.

    During 2021 we improved in-river habitats, flood risk, water storage and created new habitats on the wetland, bringing multiple benefits to this section of river and its floodplain.

    Continue reading to find out more about what we did and why we did it. Or, deep dive into this project by downloading the full project report below.

    Before: What was the Dellifure Burn like?

    The Dellifure Burn had been historically straightened and embanked as it ran through farmland. This meant that the habitat within the burn was degraded with little variation.

    Spey Fishery Board electrofishing gave us strong evidence that the habitat within this section of the Dellifure Burn was poor for Atlantic salmon and Trout and that changes within and alongside this stretch of burn were needed to improve conditions for these and other species.

    During: What did we do?

    The Delliefure Burn project was completed in 2021. Here are the main features of this project:

    1. Embankments Lowered: We started by lowering of embankment sections to encourage flood flows to overtop on to the flood plain more frequently
    2. Large Woody Structures: Next we installed large woody structures (tree root ball and section of trunk) – jumpstarting natural river processes and kick starting morphological evolution within the burn
    3. Scrapes: Finally, we also created scrapes on the land directly beside the burn. These scrapes will fill with water during higher flows as water overflows the lowered embankments, creating a wetland habitat ideal for many insects, invertebrates and wading birds.

    After: The Impact of the Dellifure Burn Project

    • More wetland and grass habitats

      There is now more wetland and wet grassland habitats in and around our scrapes – which is fantastic for a range of animals and insects.

    • Natural river processes restored

      This project revives natural river processes within the burn, increasing morphological features and enhancing in-channel structural and habitat diversity.

    • Better habitat for Atlantic salmon and other river species

      The large woody structures have kickstarted natural river processes, bringing with them a wide range of new habitats. This has increased the number of juvenile salmon and trout within the burn.

    • Reduced risk of flooding downstream

      Flood water is now stored on the flood plain during high flows, reducing peak flows and mitigating flood risks downstream.

    • More water held in our catchment

      More water is now held in wetland areas, acting as a reservoir to replenish the burn and counter low flows during drought conditions.

    • Waterlogged peat stores more carbon

      This project has re-established water-logging of peaty soils to improve carbon storage.

    • Floodplain deposits hold more carbon

      By lowering the embankments there has been an increase in particulate and nutrient deposition on the flood plain, enhancing organic carbon storage.

    Our Project Partners

    The Cairngorms National Park Authority Co-funded this project.

    The Macallan Co-funded this project.

    Seafield Estate ….

    Tulchan Estate

    The Tenant Farmer

    We would also like to thank all of our steering group members, many of whom also helped support this project.

    Learn More About This Project

    Deep dive into this project by downloading the full project report below.

    Or for further inquiries, collaboration, or additional information about the project, please email Penny Lawson, SCI Project Officer.

    Or watch this incredible video by Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service which explains in more detail what we did and why we did it.