Coastal Monitoring Site: Loch Maddy

Loch Maddy is located on the Island of North Uist, part of the Western Isles.Although the Western Isles are exposed to the North Atlantic, the site of Loch Maddy, on the eastern coast is generally very sheltered. Although named Loch Maddy, this site is not defined as a ‘loch’ in the sense of having limited exchange with the ocean (Edwards and Sharples, 1986). It is a unique site with a diverse saline lagoon system opening into the main bay area which contains a mix of rocky
reefs and soft sediment habitats.
This system supports a rich diversity of marine life and as a result it has been designated a marine special area of conservation (SAC). The water sampling site is at one of the most exposed positions within the sheltered bay.
Loch Maddy was established as a monitoring site in 2003 however salinity, nutrient and phytoplankton sampling ceased in 2011. Samples have been collected by Comann na Mara and Loch Duart Salmon and their input into the success of this programme is gratefully acknowledged.
Water sampling at this site was performed from a small boat at a site close to the island of Hamarsay. The minilogger recorder was suspended on the sheltered side of the concrete, at the end of the pier at a depth of around 5 metres (0.5 m from the sea bed). This pier is a very sheltered site and is used by the passenger ferry that runs from North Uist to the mainland. In 2004 the minilogger was positioned beneath a buoy closer to the water sampling site, but was lost from this location so the position at the end of the pier was resumed.
Conditions in Loch Maddy can be expected to reflect those in the bays and channels of the inshore side of the Hebrides archipelago.

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