What we do

Protecting habitats and species

The River Dee Catchment contains many special and protected areas, plants and animals, that we work to protect, enhance and care for.

  • The Upper half of the River Dee is within the Cairngorms National Park 
  • There are 6 National Nature Reserves (NNRs)
  • We have 7 Special Protected Areas (SPAs)
  • 11 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)
  • 3 Ramsar sites
  • 28 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)

Specially protected plants and animals include:

  • Plants: Grass wrack pond weed, Pillwort, Wych elm
  • Molluscs: Freshwater pearl mussel
  • Amphibians: Common frog, Palmate newt
  • Insects: Aspen hoverfly, Northern blue damselfly, Stiletto fly, Stone fly
  • Fish: Atlantic salmon, Brrok lamphrey, River lamphrey, Sea lamphrey
  • Mammals: Daubenton's bat, Otter, Pipistrelle bat, Red squirrel, Water shrew, Water vole
  • Birds: Goldeneye, Snipe, Spotted crake, Water rail, Osprey

Further information on these can be found in our Dee Catchment Management Plan and our business plan sets out the projects we are involved with to help manage these area, species and habitats.

The River Dee and its tributaries qualify as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to internationally important populations of Atlantic salmon, freshwater pearl mussel and European otter. As well as Atlantic salmon, the river contains stocks of trout, lamprey and eel, plus an array of introduced species. However, it is the salmon for which the river is famous. It has been designated a Special Area of Conservation for Atlantic salmon primarily due to the strength of the spring-running component of this species.