What we do

3Dee Vision

A partnership project that carried out water quality, flood protection and biodiversity improvement works in three sub-catchments of the River Dee, with a strong focus on stakeholder engagement. The Elrick catchment had SUDS implemented; the Loch Davan catchment received measures to protect watercourses from livestock; and the Tarland catchment saw the creation of 3 wetlands.

Aims: To identify and test different ways to

(i.) work with stakeholders and

(ii.) implement diffuse pollution reduction and sustainable flood risk management actions, in order to comply with the Water Framework Directive.

Dates: 2003 to 2006

Location: Work was carried out on three sub-catchments of the River Dee in Aberdeenshire: the Elrick catchment in Westhill (1a); the Loch Davan catchment near Tarland (1b); and the Tarland catchment (1c).

Partners: 3Dee Vision is the Scottish part of the concluded European initiative NOLIMP (North Sea Local Implementation of the Water Framework Directive). 3Dee Vision was a partnership between Aberdeenshire Council, The Macaulay Institute (now the James Hutton Institute), SEPA, SNH, Scottish Water and the University of Aberdeen. The project also involved the following at different stages: Dee District Salmon Fishery Board, Grampian FWAG, FCS, The MacRobert Trust, The River Restoration Centre, RSPB, SAC, SEERAD, the Stuart Milne Group and local landowners and farmers.

  • Elrick catchment: Led by SEPA and Aberdeenshire Council, though Scottish Water and Stewart Milne Group were heavily involved.
  • Loch Davan catchment: Led by SNH and SEPA, at the head of a working group including SEERAD, FCS and Dee District Salmon Fishery Board.
  • Tarland catchment: Led by Aberdeenshire Council, The Macaulay Institute, SEPA and Scottish Water, though the MacRobert Trust, farmers and other members of the local community were also involved. Grampian FWAG, RSPB and Soil and Water Scotland provided advice over wetland creation.

Actions and outcomes:

Elrick catchment: A wetland area was created using Sustainable Urban Drainage System techniques, acting as a water treatment facility to reduce pollution in the burn, and providing extra water storage capacity during heavy rainfall. To be used as a demonstration site of good SuDS practice providing multiple benefits.
Loch Davan catchment: 31 on-stream waterings were installed following discussions with farmers, to prevent livestock poaching and thereby reduce the impact of diffuse pollution on the environmentally designated Loch Davan. Morphology and biodiversity was also surveyed along old meanders of the Logie Burn.
Tarland catchment: Work focused on two areas: 1. Developing a sustainable flood prevention scheme, and 2. Improving biodiversity and water quality.

  • Easily updatable computer models which can predict the scale of flooding and the impact of flood prevention proposals were generated. An offline flood storage area was created at Mill of Gellan to reduce peak flow on the Tarland Burn downstream, and to improve biodiversity.
  • Wetland creation at the Tarland Waste Water Treatment Works has provided further treatment of effluent. The creation of over 5km of buffer strips (5-10m wide fenced-off strips adjacent to watercourses, planted with 3500 native trees), along with the wetlands, has reduced sediment runoff from fields and improved wetland and riparian habitats – in particular for water voles. Water quality has measurably improved, with reductions in concentrations of phosphorus, nitrogen and organisms that indicate faecal contamination by livestock; there have also been increases in fish density.

Current status: Complete. Elrick and Tarland schemes are being used as demonstration sites of good practice, with continued water quality monitoring at Tarland.
Funding: The project as a whole had a budget of €1.4 million: 50% of this was provided by the project partners, which was then matched by the EU Interreg IIIb North Sea Region Programme.

Elrick catchment: Construction supervision and management - £7500; Construction of the wetland – £84000
Loch Davan catchment: Construction of waterings - £37000; Specialist advice and project management - £16500; Re-meander surveys - £3300
Tarland catchment: Flood Prevention Scheme total - £63000; Waste Water Treatment Works Wetland - £50000; Other biodiversity enhancement work - £64500
Public awareness and involvement: 15 School and 6 Ranger Educational Riverbanks (educational resource boxes) - £27300; Project-wide publicity and promotional material - £1500; Design and construction of the 3Dee Vision website - £18000
Partnership working: Independent evaluation of partnership working practices – somewhat over £10000

Other information: Raising awareness and involving stakeholders throughout the planning and delivery of actions was a key element of 3Dee Vision, as was partnership working. More information on findings from these components, plus the three sub-catchment works, can be found here