Save The Spring, a transformational programme focused on the restoration of the River Dee, is driving forward its ambitions thanks to a new Programme Coordinator role created through a five-year partnership with bp.

The Save The Spring programme was launched in October 2023 by the River Dee Trust, in partnership with the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and The Atlantic Salmon Trust.

The 20-year programme targets conservation and restoration across the full length of the Dee from its source high in the Cairngorms, through the communities along its banks, and in Aberdeen City and the Port of Aberdeen.

It has been designed to tackle the climate-related decline of Atlantic salmon, a keystone species in Scottish rivers – together with other species such as otter and freshwater pearl mussel – indicators of the health of our rivers and oceans. The programme was named for the Dee’s unique and genetically distinct spring salmon which is now at risk of extinction.

Explaining the purpose of the new Programme Coordinator role, River Director, Dr Lorraine Hawkins said:

“This will be a pivotal position that enables us to make a step-change driving forward this programme and beginning an urgent response to the serious risk our river biodiversity is facing.

We’re thrilled to extend our partnership with bp, which is already helping us deliver our ambitious restoration aims and efforts. Their employees have been involved in multiple volunteer activities over the past year, including removing invasive non-native plants from the riverbank near Aberdeen – a significant threat to global biodiversity – as well as environmental sampling to assess river health. We are also looking forward to their participation in a tree-planting volunteer day on the upper Dee later this month.”

Mel Netherway, Environment & Social Discipline Lead, bp North Sea said:

“The River Dee is an integral part of the bp North Sea community- close to where many of our employees work and live. Its health – and that of the native species that surround it – are critical to the biodiversity of the region. We’re delighted to be able to support the River Dee Trust’s conservation and restoration efforts locally, helping to deliver progress towards one of bp’s global sustainability aims of restoring, maintaining and enhancing biodiversity.”

The Save the Spring programme combines urgent species conservation at a local level with landscape-scale habitat restoration of the river catchment, to be delivered over a 20-year timeframe. It will also investigate pressures faced by salmon as the fish transition between the river and sea.

Interest in the Programme Coordinator role to drive the delivery of this ambitious programme should be directed to the River Dee Trust.