Sheffield river more accessible to fish

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A project to make the River Don in Sheffield more accessible to fish is ow complete.

The Environment Agency removed part of Beeley Wood weir, Middlewood, Sheffield, as part of a longer term programme to make the full stretch of the river more accessible to fish and to restore habitats.

Work started in early March to remove half of the weir, allowing the watercourse to revert to a more natural habitat for wildlife.

This scheme is part of a programme to create a fish highway to allow all species of fish to migrate freely within the river and create a route for salmon and sea trout to return to their historic spawning grounds within and upstream of the city.

Fish, including brown trout and grayling, can now migrate freely up and down the river as it runs through Beeley Wood, to find the best places to feed, breed and shelter.

Project manager Anthony Downing said: “More and more fish passes are being built along the River Don. They are artificial channels built through or around weirs that allow fish to migrate.

“Where weirs are no longer in use, as was the case at Beeley Wood, we are sometimes able to remove part of the structure instead of building a fish pass. Weir removal allows free passage for fish but has the added benefit of also restoring habitat.

“The slow-flowing deep water behind the weir is replaced by a series of fast running shallows and pools. This is much better habitat for the fish and the invertebrates they feed on.

“When we breached the weir and the water level began to fall, we watched as habitat features re-appeared that had been drowned out, perhaps for centuries.”

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