The Dee Catchment Partnership, a collective of organisations tasked with looking after the river Dee catchment in north east Scotland, has won the Nature and Climate Action award at the RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards.

The Partnership’s winning entry, the Easter Beltie Restoration project, restored the river valley of an artificially straightened stretch of the burn near Torphins, bringing benefits for biodiversity and climate resilience. Manager, Dr Susan Cooksley, led the three-month long restoration project with river operations manager for the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board, Edwin Third. She said: “We are over the moon to have won this fantastic award, exactly one year after the Easter Beltie restoration was completed.

"Our partnership exists to deliver collaborative projects that conserve the unique biodiversity and natural beauty of Deeside, and build climate resilience across the catchment. This restoration has done exactly that – creating a new area of wild beauty and habitat for a rich diversity of wildlife, and slowing the flow of water which will help to ease flooding issues downstream.”

Read more: River Dee partnership shortlisted in Nature of Scotland Awards

Director of RSPB Scotland Anne McCall said: “The standard of entries for this year’s awards was excellent – especially when we consider how challenging the last two years have been for many.

“My fellow judges and I had a difficult job narrowing down our finalists to winners, as we saw some incredible examples of projects and initiatives from across the country – highlighting how much we value nature here in Scotland."

The Easter Beltie Restoration project was managed by the Dee Catchment Partnership working with the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board and the James Hutton Institute. Delivery partners were cbec eco-engineering UK Ltd, Edinburgh Napier University, Mclntosh Plant Hire, NatureScot, the River Dee Trust, the River Restoration Centre, Scotland the Big Picture, and the Woodland Trust. The project was funded by Aberdeenshire Council, Cairngorms National Park Authority, the NatureScot Biodiversity Challenge Fund, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and Scottish Forestry.