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Planning helps pearls in peril

21st November 2014

The Cairngorms National Park Authority’s (CNPA) planning committee granted planning permission today for a project on the River South Esk which will improve habitat for salmonid and the endangered freshwater pearl mussel.

Meeting earlier in Boat of Garten, the committee approved the application from the ‘Pearls in Peril’ project to restore parts of the watercourse back to its original channels.

The freshwater pearl mussel is an incredibly important species, Andy Ford, Cairngorms Nature Manager explains; “The freshwater pearl filters river water and by doing so help to clean the water and benefiting other river wildlife.  Each day an adult mussel can filter more water than we use in an average shower. Sadly the species has suffered a sharp decline across the world and Scotland is now the stronghold of the remaining UK population.”

The work will take place in Glen Doll and Glen Clova and will include re-profiling the bank, removing sections of rock and reconnecting some of the older channels that became cut off from the river through human intervention in the past.  The project will not only benefit the freshwater pearl mussel and salmonids but also mammals along the riverbank such as water voles and otters.

Eleanor Mackintosh, Planning Convenor for the CNPA said; “We are delighted to approve this application, one of the aims of the Park Authority  is to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area and this project is right at the heart of that aim.”