IMG_4904The Moray Firth Trout Initiative (MFTI) recently won the Wild Trout Hero Award at the Annual Wild Trout Trust Conservation Awards in London.

Over 100 guests attended a Wild Trout Trust evening at the Savile Club in Mayfair to present the annual awards for the best river habitat conservation projects. The evening was introduced by WTT Director, Shaun Leonard, with the awards presented by Richard Aylard of Thames Water, who generously sponsor the Conservation Awards.

The Conservation Awards recognise and encourage excellence in the management and conservation of wild trout habitat, celebrating the efforts, skills and ingenuity of projects carried out both by professionals and by grass roots voluntary organisations.

A dozen excellent projects competed for prizes this year but only four projects went away with awards. Marcus Walters, the MFTI Project Manager, collected the Wild Trout Hero Award for the River Peffrey Project based near Dingwal in the Cromarty Firth. The MFTI River Peffery Restoration Project is a collaborative project that is working with the Cromarty Firth Fisheries Trusts and District Salmon Fishery Board to restore this small that runs through the centre of Dingwall. The River Peffery was once a well known sea trout river but unfortunately has become extensively degraded in the lower section and now supports a fraction of the fish populations of the past. This project has worked with local landowners and community groups to improve the habitat in the river and along the banks. Large Woody Debris has been introduced to the river channel to improve the in river habitat while extensive planting with native deciduous trees has taken place along the river banks.

WTT Quote:Marcus has shown tremendous dedication and passion in ‘getting things done’ with a range of partners and volunteers to tackle non-native invasive plants, improve a constrained channel and deliver improvements to wild trout populations.”

Marcus Walters, MFTI Project Manager quote “I am proud to receive this ward for the Peffery Project that has brought together so many different organisations within the local community to begin restoring this once productive river. A significant part of the recognition must go to the local Cromarty Firth District Salmon Fishery Board and to the local volunteers who did much of the work. Also the project would not have been possible without the practical support of the Wild Trout Trust and the significant charitable funding received from the SEPA Water Environment Fund; Moray Firth Partnership & Patagonia World Trout Initiative. “