Clan News: Celebrates Successful Scheme to Conserve Local Wildlife

Celebrates Successful Scheme to Conserve Local Wildlife

27 Nov, 2014

We’re celebrating the completion of a sustainable environmental project to increase fish populations in the Mackalea Burn, close to our distillery in Speyside. The installation of a fish pass, sponsored by our award-winning whisky, will overcome in-river obstacles that prevent salmon and sea trout from spawning, helping to improve the biodiversity of the area.
The scheme was led by Scottish charity the Spey Foundation, in collaboration with Moray Council and Speyburn, as part of our two year partnership with the Spey Foundation to support ongoing conservation work along the River Spey. It forms part of the Foundation’s wider initiative to ‘open up Spey burns to wildlife’ and protect and restore the catchment’s natural features.
The Mackalea Burn is a tributary of the River Fiddich, one of the most productive spawning and nursery streams in the Spey catchment. A man-made obstacle, in this case road culverts and steps, had rendered the burn impassable to salmon and sea trout, preventing them from reaching their breeding ground.
The pass, which was created by removing a notch from the step and installing a sustainable timber chute, has allowed fish to journey to and from their breeding grounds more freely. Its design will also improve their habitat by creating depth and slower river flow, opening up an additional 1.5km of high quality breeding grounds to encourage spawning under all flow conditions.
Brian Shaw, a Spey Foundation Biologist commented: ‘The Mackalea Burn project was a great team effort between the Spey Foundation, Speyburn and Moray Council. These sustainable modifications have already allowed sea trout and salmon to swim up the Mackalea Burn, a nice spawning burn, and will continue to do so for years to come.’
The Spey Foundation plays a vital role in conserving the Spey burns and surrounding wildlife and it is this commitment that makes them the perfect partner for Speyburn, which is proud to be the only distillery to use water from the Granty Burn, a tributary of the River Spey, famed for its purity and world class salmon fishing.
Speyburn Single Malt donates £1 to the charity for each new person signing up to Clan Speyburn – world-wide whisky community – with further support provided through an international on-pack promotion.
Mark Steven, Speyburn’s Brand Manager added: ‘The River Spey is at the heart of our whisky, the local community and its wildlife, so it has been wonderful to partner with a charity which shares our commitment to its conservation. The Mackalea Burn project will make a really positive and long term impact on the river’s ecological status and we are very proud to have been involved in the collaboration. To further our commitment to the River Spey’s enhancement, we are now working with the Spey Foundation to develop another fish pass on the Granty Burn at our distillery, due for completion in 2015.’

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