CRESS projects


European beaver trial reintroduction to Knapdale: Collection of Fluvial Geomorphology and River Habitat Baseline Data, 2008

May 2009

CRESS is in charge of developing a methodological approach to collect physical habitat baseline data against which any future alteration to the fluvial geomorphology or river habitat can be assessed.

Data was collected using this methodology from november 08 to january 09 and a GIS based databased is being developed. SNH



European beaver trial reintroduction to Knapdale: Baseline survey of the aquatic and semi-aquatic macrophytes of the lochs, 2008

March 2009

CRESS is currently undertaking the first year baseline survey monitoring of the aquatic and sem-aquatic macrophytes of the lochs of Knapdale, Argyll, where European beaver trial reintroduction will take place. The works consist on the survey and GPS based mapping of submerged, floating-leaved, edge and emergent plant species in a total of 12 lochs in Knapdale. These surveys will allow comparisons to be made with the results of future surveys. SNH

Nith rediversion geomorphological and biological monitoring




March 2009

CRESS is currently undertaking a montoring of geomorphology and biology of the River Nith diversion 2004. The monitoring entails repeated annual surveys of channel bed morphology, substrate particle size and composition and two times a years macro-invertebrate fauna and aquatic and river margin vegetation surveys. Additional sampling is also considered to quantify the effect of any further enhancement works. Scottish Coal



River restoration at the catchment scale in Scotland: Current status and opportunities

June 2008

Recent attention has focussed on restoration of ecosystems witht he context of catchment management. Drivers of restoration can be linked to legislation, environmental concerns and socio-economics issues. Opportunities exist to build on individual initiatives focussed on a single dirver and look towards achieving multiple benefits such as flood mitigation and biodiversity conservation. In order to achieve this there was a need to identify and understand what had already been done in terms of river restoration adn what potential there was for developing synergies between initiatives. This project aimed to ascertain the state of play of catchment scale river restoration in Scotland. SEPA / Scottish Government


A fluvial audit of the Rottal Burn, South Esk: a basis to designing river enhancement works to aid 1+ salmonids

April 2008

As part of the Conservation of Atlantic Salmon in Scotland (CASS) project, significant habitat improvement works are are being undertaken on the River South Esk in Glen Clova, Angus. It is proposed to improve the Rottal Burn habitat for 1+ juveniles to ensure the burn is suitable for spawning and all stages of juvenile fish. The main objective of this work was to assess the fluvial geomorphology of the Rottla catchment and ensure that the River Restoration Centre had a good understanding of the sediment type, volume, and its fate to ensure they could develop a sustainable habitat rehabilitation design. RRC / SNH


Fluvial Impact Assessment of a proposed river diversion on the burn of Daralees (New Byth, Aberdeenshire)

February 2008

As specified under teh Controlled Activites Regulations (SEPA), the Daralees river diversion was likely to be considered in the gorup of channel modification activites requiring a Fluvial audit with 1-D hydraulic modelling and reach based sediment budget assessment. CRESS undertook a Fluvial Audit in a total of 4km of the river, including the river in the vicinity of the proposed diversion and undertook some additional measumrement and observations in order to determine the nature of sediment transport in the Daralees Burn and the impact of the proposed diversion.


Assessing the long-term physical and biological impacts of a wind farm development on streams draining the Braes of Doune

March 2008


This project aim to determine the long-term physical and biological impacts of the wind farm construction and operation on streams draining the Braes of Doune. Some of the specific objectives are to determine the effects of the wind farm on the concentrations and loadings of stream sediment through time; assess the implications of increased sediment concentrations on water turbidity and bed sedimentation and to assess the ecological implications of these changes. Stirling University research program (supported by the Forth District Salmon Fisheries Board)


Development of a GIS Procedure to implement a UK Geomorphic Channel Typology

January 2008


CRESS undertook some works to form an overview of field testing of river types and their controls on the main stem of the River Dee and the principal tributaries upstream of Braemar. The work was undertaken to compile a dataset that could be used to validate GIS based typing of river reaches undertaken under a SNIFFER project to develop a GIS procedure to implement a UK Geomorphic Channel Typology. Geodata Unit. University of Southampton



Risk-assessment of the threat posed by existing populations of New Zealand Pygmyweed in Scotland

December 2007


New Zealand Pygmyweed (Crassula helmsii) is an invasive, non-native species that was found recently in a number of ponds in Scotland. This project aims to ascertain the present distribution of Crassula helmsii throughout Scotland and the extent of the existing populations; as well to ascertain the original pathway of arrival of each population and to assess the threat posed by existing populations in Scotland. SNH funded project.



Baseline riverine fish community survey for a windfarm development in Central Scotland

November 2007


An estimation of fish species presence and relative abundance in small watercourses draining the slopes of some hills in Central Scotland was conducted to provide information to assist with the planning for a future Windfarm.


Sharing good Practices: “Working with Rivers”

September 2007


CRESS worked with SNH in the organisation and delivery of the two-day workshop “Working with Rivers”. The workshop aimed to introduce the physical processes that naturally occur in rivers, how they are linked to river habitats, the impacts upon river habitat that may result from channel modifications, and to explore what are considered to be sustainable and sympathetic river management practices. Through seminar sessions, case studies and site visits, some of them undertaken by Drs Gilvear and Bull, the session looked at a range of river management issues and the success or failure of different forms of intervention. SNH, RRC, CRESS training course.








Site visit for the geomorphology assessment of the Ettrick-Yarrow confluence

September 2007


Gravel deposits at the confluence were blocking fish passage. An assessment was undertaken by CRESS to assess whether minor dredging works would provide a long term solution. The assessment suggested river widening had led to enhanced deposition and that restoration of the natural channel width was the long-term solution.




Assessment of lamprey communities prior to a proposed urban development beside the river Forth

September 2007


This project provided information on the presence and abundance of larval lampreys in the vicinity of a site of proposed development on the River Forth. Full-quantitative electric fishing was carried out for lampreys, and the distribution and quality of lamprey habitats were assessed over a 1.5km reach of the river. Finally, recommendations on best environmental practices regarding present lamprey populations were given.





Site visit for the geomorphology assessment of the Spey-Calder confluence

September 2007


CRESS undertook an assessment of the cause of bank erosion, channel changes and the impacts of previous gravel manipulation works. The assessment considered the reach to be naturally unstable and that too much investment in to works to train the course of the channel were unlikely to pay dividends.




Loch Lyon Fish survey

August 2007


This project provided information on the fish community of Loch Lyon, with a particular focus on establishing the presence of Arctic char: a species of conservation importance. A survey program used a combination of survey gillnetting in the loch and electric fishing in the tributaries to report on the species composition and health status of the fish community. 




A MImAS based geomorphological assessment of the present and proposed engineering pressures on the Findhorn River near Forres

July 2007


This project gathered and interpreted field survey data to determine the current morphological condition of the Findhorn in relation to Water Framework Directive standards and how this condition might be affected by the detail of a proposed flood alleviation scheme for Forres. Historical maps, a LiDAR image and old photographs were also used to reconstruct historical channel change.The field survey data was run through Morphological Impact Assessment System (MiMAS), a tool used by SEPA to assess WFD Environmental Standards.


South West Inverness Flood relief channel. An assessment of the implications for sediment transport in the Holm Burn

June 2007


A geomorphic assessment of the implications of transfering flood waters via a flood relief channel to the Holm Burn as proposed in the South West Inverness food allevation scheme was undertaken. It particularly focussed on the impact on sedimentation of an on-line pond.




Forfar Loch and Dean Water Environmental Impact Study of proposed River dredging

May 2007


This project assessed the extent to which perceived siltation on the Dean Water was the cause of elevated water level on the river and upstream Forfar Loch. Low gradients, prolific growth of Glyceria maxima and fine-grained input of sediment from agricultural land were deemed to be the source of siltation. Dredging was offered as a solution and guidelines as to best practice in order to provide the information necessary for an application to SEPA for a licence under the Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR), 2005.


River Tay Sediment Audit for the Consevation of Atlantic Salmon in Scotland (CASS) Life Project

April 2007


Using aerial photography and field survey a Sediment Audit of the River Tay below Loch Tay was undertaken for over one hundred 500 metre reaches. The data was coupled to a bedload transport model and fluxes of gravel estimated under a range of scenarios. Based on the results of the modelling and appreciation that the Lower Tay is a "sediment starved" geomorphic system Scottish Natural Heritage are drawing up a code of practice in relation to gravel extraction for the river. SNH funded project.


Baseline River Habitat Surveys (RHS) prior to a windfarm development

March 2007


A number of River Habitat Surveys were undertaken to provide baseline information of stream networks in the vicinity of proposed wind farm sites (e.g. Balmenach Burn, Fintry Hills). At one wind farm development site electro fishing also provided information on fish species and numbers.


International Riverine Hydroecology Conference

August 2006


CRESS hosted an international conference "Riverine Hydroecology: Advances in Research and Application". It incorporated the Tenth International Symposium on Regulated Stream and Second Wood In World Rivers symposia. Over 200 delegates from over twenty countries attended the 5 day conference. Selected papers from the conference are to be published in a special issue (Guest editors: Dave Gilvear, Nigel Willby and Paul Kemp) of the journal River Research and Applications.




Design and installation for a hydrological monitoring network at Morton Lochs, Tentsmuir Natural Nature Reserve

July 2006


CRESS undertook a project to design a surface and groundwater monitoring network at Morton Lochs NNR.  The site potentially could be impacted by surface and ground water abstraction. The design was based on CRESS' good understanding of the Loch and wetland water budgets, an appreciation of the use to which the data would be put and logistics of data collection.  A network of surface water level recorders and piezometers were installed. SNH funded project.

River Habitat Survey (RHS) at the Glenmuckloch Open Cast Coal Site (OCCS)

July 2006


CRESS conducted a total of 16 River Habitat Suverys (RHS) on all affected burns at the GOCCS in Dumfries and Galloway, encompassing the Crichton, Roger and Lagrae burns. For each RHS, a Habitat Quality Assessment (HQA) score and a Habitat Modification (HMS) score were calculated.



Westercraig burn diversion. A geomorphologically sound and ecologically focussed design

July 2006


CRESS utilised its expertise in the design of geomophologically and ecologically sound river diversions to develop an optimum environmental design that would be looked upon favourably under the Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR).  The diversion was of an artificial channel draining a reservoir and lay in the way of a proposed housing development.



A geomorphic assessment of the unauthorised works at the confluence of Beoch Burn and River Bladnoch



May 2006


Following a riparian owner undertaking unauthorised excavation in the autumn of 2005 on the upper River Bladnoch at its confluence with the Beoch Burn, CRESS was requested to undertake an independent site appraisal to assess the local and wider geomorphic impact. Both the Upper Bladnoch River and the Beoch burn lie within the Bladnoch SAC boundary and are important salmonid rivers with high nature conservation value. The Beoch Burn in particular is extremely important as a spawning and nursery area.




A geomorphic assessment of the Savoch Burn restoration Plan

May 2006


The Savoch Burn drains a predominantly agricultural catchment with its lower 2 km draining through Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) owned land via a channelised section to the Loch of Strathbeg. CRESS provided a review of the proposed Savoch Burn restoration plan from a geomorphic perspective, including an assessment of the geomorphic and hydrological impact and key recommendations.




Trialling of MImAS morphological assessment tool and proposed Environmental Standards

April 2006

MImAS is a new tool to provide a basic assessment of the activity footprint of a range of river engineering activities in relation to its impact on river ecological status. It is based on assigning an individual river to a geomorphic type and the assumption that each river type has the capacity to absorb a given level of a range of engineering activities. By assigning ecological status and measuring the level of river engineering activities on 98 river reaches across the UK, CRESS confirmed that the output MiMAS tool was adequate for purpose and in light of data some minor changes were incorporated in the most recent version. SNIFFER funded project.




Environmental advice on River Almond tributary diversion

August 2005


CRESS gave advise on best practice regarding a proposed diversion on an unnamed tributary of the River Almond, northwest of Whitburn. Best practice concerning river engineering activities is becoming increasingly important to improve and sustain the conservation status of watercourses, and also to meet more stringent legislation standards with the growing dominance of the Water Framework Directive (WFD).


Geomorphological audit of the River South Esk in Glen Clova

August 2005


CRESS conducted a geomorphological audit of the River South Esk in Glen Clova for the Esk District Salmon Fisheries Board (EDSFB). The River South Esk has been proposed as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to its important populations of Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). However, the habitat of these two important species is under threat. So, CRESS carried out a fluvial audit of the upper River South Esk in order to develop an understanding of the geomorphology of that part of the river, and deliver rehabilitation proposals to safeguard the ecological requirements of both Atlantic salmon and Freshwater Pearl Mussel. SNH (Commissioned research project).