Enhancing one of the Highland’s most renowned rivers to restore populations of salmon and sea trout

This 10-year study aims to better understand the River Laxford catchment and to restore the numbers of Atlantic salmon and sea trout – a barometer for the health of the whole ecosystem – by improving the quality and habitat of the river

Working in partnership with foremost evidence-based conservation charity the Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST), we’re restoring salmon and sea trout populations in the River Laxford, historically one of the Highland’s most renowned and productive rivers. 

The River Laxford has been a stronghold of Atlantic salmon and sea trout for centuries – its name is Old Norse for salmon fiord – but in recent years their populations have seen a rapid decline, mirroring conditions throughout the world. 

This 10-year study aims to better understand the River Laxford catchment and to restore the numbers of Atlantic salmon and sea trout – a barometer for the health of the whole ecosystem – by improving the quality and habitat of the river. 

It is hoped the project will provide an exemplar for catchment management, with the lessons learnt being directly applicable to other river systems. 

The scheme is the AST’s first catchment restoration project, which includes the whole river from its source to sea. It benefits from being under single ownership, avoiding any conflicts of interest and optimising the positive impacts of the works. 

In keeping with our aims of protecting and enabling our rare habitats and the flora and fauna they support, we believe this long-term project will support the conservation of these important and iconic species, delivering a lasting environmental benefit. 

Works on the estate include stabilising the riverbanks to stop sediment entering the watercourse; planting native tree species to develop new woodlands, helping to cool the water and improve its quality; and removing instream barriers and blockages. 

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