Allt Lorgy restoration project wins River Restoration Centre UK River Prize.

Penny Lawson - September 10, 2020

Some of you will be familiar with the Allt Lorgy project, one of SCI’s early projects delivered in 2012 which aimed to restore a straightened, canalised stretch of this tributary of the River Dulnain, close to Carrbridge.

In an online award ceremony on 9th September, the project was awarded the River Restoration Centre UK River Prize 2020, receiving the trophy for the brand new ‘reach scale’ section of the prize in recognition of the radical transformation of around 850m of the Allt Lorgy we can see today. Since improvement works were done in 2012, the river has changed from an artificially straightened, engineered channel lacking in fish and other wildlife to a dynamic, re-naturalised burn, rich in new habitats and species.

Leading the way in Scotland, an innovative approach was taken to restoring the river based on the concept of removing man-made constraints, giving the river space to do the work of forming a more varied, wildlife-friendly channel. The project now represents the earliest and most advanced example of the application of the ‘Stage Zero’ type of restoration approach in the UK.

Engineered embankments were removed to improve flood plain connectivity, and large pieces of dead wood were placed in the burn to encourage a return to more natural flow patterns, and provide nutrients and more diverse habitats. Over the years the success of the project is clear from the steadily increasing numbers of salmon and trout, and the much more natural, meandering channel with pools and gravel banks. With a boost from planting with trees donated by the Woodland Trust, native woodland is now regenerating vigorously across the deer-fenced flood plain. The restoration has the potential not only to improve the area for nature, but also to help battle the effects of climate change, such as more frequent flood risk.

Watch the short video to see how amazing the burn now looks!