River Dee


Conservationists have warned that rising water temperatures are threatening wildlife in the River Dee.

In May, temperatures near Ballater reached 21°C, far above the optimal 16-17°C for sustaining Atlantic salmon, which may stop eating beyond this range.

These temperatures were recorded two weeks earlier than in 2023.

The River Dee Trust noted that the river is on track for a record-breaking month. Trust staff monitor the river’s water temperatures to assess the health of the ecosystem, contributing to the broader study of river temperatures across Scotland through the Scotland River Temperature Monitoring Network (SRTMN).

The Trust’s biologist, Dr Al Reeve explains:

“This month we’ve recorded temperatures in hill tributaries of the Dee used as nursery areas for young fish of 20°C on the Geldie Burn, up in the eastern Cairngorms and of 21°C on the Gairn, nearer Ballater. Even more worrying, these highs have hit two weeks earlier than in 2023.

“Our keystone species, the Atlantic salmon, is adapted to live in cool environments with an optimal temperature range of 16-17°C for growth. Beyond this range, the fish stop eating, display behavioural changes and stress. There is also a negative impact on the river’s invertebrates and consequently, on other wildlife too.”



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