Bringing back salmon to the centre of Sheffield

A drive to re-introduce more salmon into the centre of Sheffield has been launched by Yorkshire Water with the introduction of two new fish superhighways on the River Don.

Friday, 22nd February 2019, 10:01 am
Updated Friday, 22nd February 2019, 10:02 am
River Don fish superhighway

The £2.6m projects have been carried out by Yorkshire Water, in partnership with the Environment Agency and with support from the Don Catchment Rivers Trust.

One is located at Wharncliffe Side village and traverses an industrial-era weir that was previously blocking fish such as trout, salmon and grayling from swimming upstream.

The other fish pass is located at Jordans Dam, next to Blackburn Meadows sewage treatment works, and also allows fish to bypass a major weir dating make to the early 1600s.

Ben Aston from the Environment team at Yorkshire Water, said: “The latest fish passes we have created on the River Don help fish including salmon to swim up and around the weirs to reach their spawning grounds.  Bypassing these obstacles is another important step in the journey to providing a healthy and resilient river which will encourage the return of species like the majestic salmon to the River Don.”

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Many weirs were created to help hold flood waters back, as well as controlling river levels to aid boat navigation. However, at the time they were built little attention was paid to how they would negatively impact on fish’s freedom of movement. Many are now being removed or circumnavigated to help boost river fish populations.

Fisheries officer at the Environment Agency, Pete Turner, said it was fantastic what organisations like Yorkshire Water were doing and added: “The quality of the water in our rivers and streams has never been so good and fish are thriving because of it. Weirs such as these stop fish from moving freely though, for example to access new habitat or spawning grounds.”

Yorkshire Water has pledged to build a total of 14 new fish passes across the region by 2020.