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Ayrshire is the largest of Scotland’s lowland counties and with a low lying central basin surrounded by hills rather like a half saucer. It has a very diverse landscape and as a result the character of each river is quite different.

The Ayrshire catchment consists of six main rivers: the rivers Garnock, Irvine, Ayr, Doon, Girvan and Stinchar. There are also several smaller watercourses, including the Gogar Water and Noddsdale Burn in North Ayrshire, the Pow Burn between the Ayr and the Irvine and the Water of Lendal in South Ayrshire.

Habitat degradation is a very significant issue in Ayrshire. High levels of urbanisation, intensive farming and industry all contribute to habitat degradation in the area. In addition, the well established opencast mining industry in Ayrshire is also expanding and therefore impacting on surrounding habitats. Other factors negatively affecting the catchment and its fisheries include pollution, acidification of surface waters, siltation, forestry, predation and introduced non-native species.

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