A PARTNERSHIP in charge of looking after the River Dee catchment has been named as a finalist in the Nature of Scotland Awards.

Shortlisted for the Climate Action Award, the Dee Catchment Partnership has been recognised for the group’s recent efforts in restoring the Easter Beltie burn near Torphins.

Partnership manager, Dr Susan Cooksley, led the three-month long Beltie burn restoration project with river operations manager for the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board, Edwin Third. She said: “We’re delighted to be a finalist. Our partnership exists to promote, facilitate and deliver collaborative projects that conserve the unique biodiversity and natural beauty of Deeside, and the restoration at Easter Beltie is doing exactly that, creating a new area of wild beauty that is a habitat for a rich diversity of wildlife.

Edwin Third added: “Funded by NatureScot’s Biodiversity Challenge Fund, the restoration of the Beltie has been a huge success – we were absolutely delighted to see salmon spawning before the last of the diggers had even left the site.

"The water from the previously straightened channel now flows though three specially created wetland pools, and onwards downstream through a gently meandering course. The site is already home to kingfisher, dipper, heron, badger and otter.”

The Dee Catchment Partnership is made up of representatives from Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, River Dee Trust and Dee District Salmon Fishery Board, NatureScot, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Scottish Forestry, SEPA, James Hutton Institute and Aberdeen Harbour Board.

Now in their tenth year, the Nature of Scotland awards celebrate the inspirational people, projects, groups and organisations working hard to protect Scotland’s precious natural heritage.

This year's finalists for the Nature and Climate Action Award 2021 are:

• Aberdeen City Council – Woodlands, Wetlands and Wildflowers;

• Restoring rivers, sustaining livelihoods – Tweed’s nature-based climate solutions;

• River Calder Restoration - Flowing into the Future;

• The Easter Beltie Restoration;

• Wetland farming for climate adaptation - Seawater Solutions ltd.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on November 17, organised by RSPB Scotland and co-sponsored by NatureScot.