LIFE Dee River working with RRC

What is the LIFE Dee River project

LIFE Dee River is a large-scale project, led by Natural Resources Wales, to transform the river Dee and its catchment by restoring the river and surroundings back to a more natural state.

By working in partnership with local communities and landowners, the project has made significant progress across the Dee catchment to remove barriers to fish migration, improve farming and forestry practices, and enhance the river’s habitat for the benefit of a wide range of species including salmon, lamprey and freshwater pearl mussels.

RRC 2024 Conference

This year, the project is delighted to be working in partnership with the River Restoration Centre to deliver the 2024 RRC Conference in Llandudno in April, bringing together over 300 professionals working across the UK on river restoration. The programme includes two keynote speakers and 45 other presentations on topics such as climate change, gravel management, restoration for fish, river continuity, historical floodplains, landowner engagement, citizen science and much more.

New for 2024, LIFE Dee River and RRC staff have planned an exciting tour around the Dee catchment on the third day of the conference. This is an extra day compared to previous years and will showcase some of the work we’ve delivered throughout the project, as detailed below, and what we have coming up. Places will be strictly limited for these visits, so book early to avoid disappointment!

Improving fish passage

So far, the project has improved fish passage at 9 structures, with another 5 planned before the end of the project. Whilst improving fish passage, this will also have a major positive impact on natural fluvial processes within the river such as gravel movement. 

Creating riverside corridors

We’ve been working with over 40 farmers and landowners to reduce the amount of nutrients and sediments entering the watercourse. This has been achieved by installing 40 kilometres of fencing alongside the riverbank, and 45 drinking water troughs to allow livestock access to clean drinking water. These have been a mixture of solar troughs sourcing water from the adjacent river and troughs fed from mains water. Within the fenced off areas we have planted over 15,000 trees ensuring that the banks are stabilised and to provide a future source of woody material that is vital to the riverine ecology, as well as carbon sequestration. 

Instream habitat improvements

Instream habitat improvements have been carried out to around 3.5 kilometres of the Dee.  This has included introducing spawning material into gravel starved areas below reservoirs, removing historical hard revetment and placing brash bundles to help stabilise the riverbanks where they are suffering from excessive erosion.

On-farm interventions

As part of our on-farm interventions, we’ve installed over three quarters of a kilometre of new guttering and downpipes on farm buildings to ensure that no dirty water or nutrients from the yard accidentally find their way into nearby watercourses, which will help improve the water quality in local rivers. Additionally, 5 large rainwater harvesting tanks have been installed as a sustainable way to use rainwater on farms instead of mains water for day-to-day use.

If you would like to find out more about the LIFE Dee River project, visit our webpage, follow @LIFEAfonDyfrdwy on social media or email the team at You can also sign up to our quarterly newsletter for all our latest updates.




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