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Special Areas of Conservation

River Dee

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority North Eastern Scotland
Centroid* NO493981
Latitude 57.05555556
Longitude -3.075
SAC EU Code UK0030251
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 2334.48
* This is the approximate central point of the SAC. In the case of large, linear or composite sites, this may not represent the location where a feature occurs within the SAC.
Location of River Dee SAC

General site character

  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins) (2%)
  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (53.5%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (1%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (5%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (2%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (15%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (14%)
  • Coniferous woodland (0.5%)
  • Mixed woodland (5%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (2%)

Download the Natura 2000 standard data form for this site as submitted to Europe (PDF <100kb)

Note When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Not Applicable

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Not Applicable

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • 1029 Freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera

    The Dee is a major east coast Scottish river, which flows uninterrupted for some 130 km from its upland reaches in the high Cairngorms to the North Sea. It supports a functional population of freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera, which is common in the Dee, recorded from a location approximately 30 km from the river source to approximately 6-7 km upstream from its mouth. Juveniles make up approximately 30% of the recorded population, among the highest proportions recorded in Scotland. This indicates that the population is recruiting strongly and is one of the most important in the UK.

  • 1106 Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

    The River Dee supports a high-quality Atlantic salmon Salmo salar population in a river draining a large catchment on the east coast of Scotland. There is a weak nutrient gradient along its length, but it is essentially a nutrient-poor river. The high proportion of the river accessible to salmon has resulted in it supporting the full range of life-history types found in Scotland, with sub-populations of spring, summer salmon and grilse all being present. The headwaters which drain the southern Cairngorm and northern Grampian mountains are particularly important for multi sea-winter spring salmon, but there has been a significant decline in their abundance in recent years. The extensive areas accessible to salmon means the River Dee supports a significant proportion of the Scottish salmon resource. In recent years it has contributed about 4 or 5% of all salmon caught in Scotland.

  • 1355 Otter Lutra lutra

    The Dee is a major east coast Scottish river, which flows uninterrupted for some 130 km from its upland reaches in the high Cairngorms to the North Sea. Surveys have indicated that the otter Lutra lutra is found throughout Dee catchment, from its mouth at Aberdeen to many of the high-altitude lochs. The river system contains extensive areas of suitable habitat for otter feeding, resting and breeding, including watercourses with a high fish biomass and islands and marshy areas for resting. This is a strong, high quality population, representative of north-east Scotland.

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

  • Not Applicable

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.