Salmon are leaping back into a Sheffield waterway for the first time in 200 years
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The successful reconnection of the river by bypassing manmade obstacles such as weirs means salmon can return to the famous Sheffield waterway.
EA staff work in partnership on fish passes in the River Don but the project was showcased to their colleagues from across the country who came to see the completed Larinier fish pass at Jordans Weir within Yorkshire Water’s Blackburn Meadows wastewater treatment works, at Tinsley, in Sheffield.
The group visited Niagara Weir, where Yorkshire Water and Ward and Burke are building a further fish pass to allow salmon to continue their journey upstream.
Dr Ben Gillespie, YW river resilience specialist, said: “The partnership approach between the Environment Agency and local organisations including the Don Catchment Rivers Trust has been a successful one. The passes installed and weirs removed have led to salmon returning to parts of the Don they have not been seen in for more than 200 years. These projects are also of benefit to general river health which adds value to the surroundings of the local communities.
“We’re really pleased to have been able to welcome Environment Agency staff from outside the region to share this success, showcase the completed fish passes, how they are constructed and to outline how important partnership working has been throughout this project. We hope the success on the Don will now be replicated elsewhere in the country.”
The fish passes work by using steel Larinier baffles to create turbulent water and resting places to allow the fish to make their way past the weirs.
Ed Shaw, managing director of the Don Catchment Rivers Trust, said the River Don is no longer grossly polluted and is in fact full of life.
Katie Burnham, Environment Agency Fisheries Technical Officer, said weirs can block the natural free movement of fish but thanks to hard work salmon are returning to Sheffield. She added: “We are pleased to continue to support with projects focused on tackling some of the remaining barriers upstream to open even more of the river system for fish.”