Peter Stewart’s Placement Report

Placement Location

Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI) and local partner organisations: River Dee Trust, and Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust

Placement Dates

Start Date : April 1, 2021
End Date : May 31, 2021


I spent the first month of my placement with the River Dee Trust, working on the Dee and Don rivers. The focus was on monitoring the salmon and sea trout smolt, using rotary screw traps. Working with the smolt was a great opportunity to learn more about their importance for the river, as well as to gain practical experience identifying and handling salmon and sea trout. I also gained experience in deploying acoustic receivers and sentinel tags for acoustic monitoring of the smolt. In addition to the work with the smolt, I gained experience in the habitat restoration and invasive species management work being undertaken on the Dee, including learning how to deploy and check a mink raft, as well as how to identify some of the key invasive plants which SISI focus on.

In May I moved over to the River Deveron, to work with the Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust. This half of the placement was mainly focused on invasive species management. I visited the MacDuff sheep grazing trial, in which a flock of sheep is being used to control giant hogweed, and deployed camera traps to monitor the sheep. I also helped with the fixed-point photography surveys which are used to monitor giant hogweed and the other invasive plants at control sites. Finally, I gained experience in hands-on control of giant hogweed using herbicide, which was very useful to learn about the factors which you have to consider when designing a management programme.

During my placement I also helped to run outreach events with local schools and community groups, and wrote about my placement for the SISI blog, which can be found at: