REWATERING THE RIVER GARRY
FINDING A COMPROMISE TO RESTAURE AND SAVE THE RIVER GARRY ENVIRONMENT
The upper River Garry, once a productive spring salmon river, was completely destroyed as a salmon river from the 1930s to the 1950s by the “development” of hydro power. Its loss alone, might account for up to 1/6th of the Tay’s spring run and perhaps nearly half of that on the River Tummel. It is perhaps the most heavily abstracted river of its size in Scotland, if not the UK. In total some 13 miles (20 km) of main river between Struan and Loch Garry (13km up to first intake) plus a number of tributaries have been lost to migratory fish and other wildlife as a result of abstraction. At the present time, this plus the significant amount of lost water between Struan and Blair Atholl, represents a lost production of perhaps as many as 3,000 early running salmon and grilse per annum. This is equivalent to about 50% of the present run of fish on the River Tummel at Pitlochry Dam.
It is the biggest single issue on the Tay which could readily be reversed if society had the will to do something about it. Because of the introduction of an EU Directive intended to restore damaged freshwater environments, an opportunity presented itself, for the first time in 50 years, to remedy the River Garry and similar rivers and streams throughout Scotland.