£3m project will improve wetlands for Kilsyth’s wildlife (and humans)

The Garrell Burn merges from the left with the River Kelvin at Dumbreck Marsh. � Copyright Robert Murray and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence
The Garrell Burn merges from the left with the River Kelvin at Dumbreck Marsh. � Copyright Robert Murray and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

A multi-million pound project will improve the wildlife habitats at Dumbreck Marsh Local Nature Reserve in Kilsyth.

A detailed report on this project was presented to North Lanarkshire Council’s Environment and Transportation Committee.

Almost £3 million will be spent improving the wetlands, which are home to wildlife such as otters and kingfishers, as well as migratory fish such as salmon and eels.

Community consultation on this project has been ongoing since 2017 and findings, so far, are that local people consider access to the site to be a major priority, as is local wildlife.

A network of new and improved paths will be created, with features of interest, viewing platforms and interpretation for visitors, and a fish pass will be created at the weir, next to St Patrick’s Primary School.

The work will also address some of the issues with flooding at the reserve and surrounding area.

The bulk of the money, £2.6m, will be provided by Water Environment Fund, which is Scottish Government funding managed by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), with the council providing the balance.

The fund intends to improve water bodies, which have been damaged by historical activities, such as the Garrell Burn, which as previously reported will be restored to its original course having been altered for agricultural purposes many years ago.

Subject to planning permission, work is expected to start later this year with the majority of to be completed in 2019/20, with final landscaping scheduled for 2020/21.

Nicole Paterson, the council’s head of Environmental Assets, said: “Dumbreck Marsh Local Nature Reserve provides an important habitat for many species of wildlife that thrive in wetlands, and this work will create a better environment for birds, plants and fish.”