Traditional peat cutting banks, used for domestic fuel, lay within the proposed areas and have a strong connection to the loch. Many of the cuttings were old and abandoned, however the footer ditches were still functional, with wind and rain erosion taking place in the ditches and on the exposed peat faces. In most cases there was a sufficient vegetated buffer between the ditches and the loch edge to capture and remove most of the particulate peat, but the dissolved carbon would still have found its way to the loch.
Using a low ground pressure excavator, we were able to re-profile and compress the peat banks to reduce the amount of bare peat surfaces, simultaneously blocking all footer ditches to spread water flow across the vegetated surfaces. The strategy to this phase of restoration was to re-profile the existing hags and gullies to then identify where peat dams should be positioned to ensure they are adequately spaced in the drains and gullies.
As the restoration started later than expected we ran into the Bird Breeding Season and had to appoint Anna Reid as site Ecologist to provide guidance to machine operators to ensure works could continue as long as possible into the breeding season without causing any issues. During the final days before pausing for the bird breeding season Anna then found evidence of otters being active on site so works was stopped then and a Works with Otter license was applied for to Nature Scot to allow works to resume after the bird breeding season.