Cash for Cowie Project

By Jane Cruickshank / August 24, 2022
water tumbles over an uneven concrete edge

Stonehaven and District Angling Association (SDAA)landed an £8,000 catch on Tuesday with a contribution from the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee top up budget towards the cost of removing an unsightly barrier to migratory fish on the River Cowie.

Councillors heard from Martin Gardner, who told them the Dam Dykes Weir at Mineralwell is made of concrete, which is no longer allowed to be used in rivers because of its chemical content. The section of the river would be regraded in a manner similar to the Carron downstream of the Green Bridge.

Mr Gardner said the anglers’ project had been delayed due to Covid and had soared in cost from £70,000 to £142,000. Various other funding sources have been secured, he said, and the contribution from the Committee would cover most of a remaining deficit.

He said: ”It will take four weeks to complete the work, which must be done by October to allow the fish uninterrupted ascent to their spawning grounds. Salmon start to spawn from mid-November to late-November.”

Helping our declining fish stocks

The removal of the Dam Dykes Weir, will be the second concrete impediment the SDAA has dealt with. They previously spent £120,000 installing a fish pass and counter at the distillery intake pool. Still in their sights is the large concrete apron at the Cowie Bridge which they hope will be addressed when the embankments are eventually renewed by the local authority. And further upstream there is work needed at the former town water supply point.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Gardner said the fish stocks on the Cowie were, like those in rivers across Scotland, suffering from severe decline and now acknowledged to be endangered. Global warming is affecting the availability of krill, and dolphins, seals and Goosanders are all taking their toll.

He said the anglers considered themselves to be custodians of the river, and they were doing all this work to remove impediments, ‘to make the best of what is left’.

Young carers and Lions

Also making successful applications to the Area Committee top up budget were the Stonehaven Lions Club who will receive £1,818 towards new gazebos to replace old, heavy metal stalls.

And young carers are among the 13 members of the Elevate21 Youth Group who can look forward to a two day trip to Dalguise Activity Centre having secured £1,459. The youngsters are now planning on fundraising efforts such as a supermarket bag pack to raise their contribution to the outing.