Salmon are occasionally found in the river but getting over weirs built in the 19th century is preventing many from making their way upstream to spawn.
Fish passes have already been built around several weirs in the river and now work has just started on two more in central Sheffield. Project leaders say this will contribute to the return of salmon to the River Don for the first time in over 150 years.
The works at Steelbank weir at Neepsend and Brightside weir are part of a wider programme of works to restore and improve the river called ‘The Living Heritage of the River Don’ led by the Don Catchment Rivers Trust.
Karen Eynon, project manager for DCRT said: “The rivers of the Don catchment historically provided prosperity to South Yorkshire, it’s time to recognise, restore and celebrate their contribution to our heritage.
“We hope to capture the imagination of the people of South Yorkshire with the return of salmon to the River Don. Fish passes act like watery staircases or escalators which allow fish to swim their way over a weir.”
The scheme is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire Water, the Wild Trout Trust and Gripple Ltd - a Sheffield-based manufacturer of wire fasteners.
In addition, the Environment Agency have contributed technical expertise and funding.
Andy Gull from Gripple said: “As a local business we are delighted to help projects that conserve and sustain the local wildlife.”